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US Senators Unveil Bipartisan Bill Proposing Seizure, Sale of Russian Assets in Support of Ukraine

© DREW ANGERERA view of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday evening, January 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.
A view of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday evening, January 19, 2022 in Washington, DC. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.03.2022
The ‘Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act’ enables the US federal government to confiscate and sell off assets of sanctioned Russians, or those tied to the Kremlin, that are valued at over $2 million. The proposed bill also seeks to provide cash rewards to those who provide information leading to the seizure of such high-priced assets.
A bipartisan group of US senators introduced legislation on Tuesday that would grant the federal government authority to seize multimillion-dollar assets of sanctioned Russians and others, in an effort to help raise funds for the defense of Ukraine.
H.R.6930, dubbed the ‘Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act,’ was co-sponsored by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

“Any serious attempt to punish [Russian President Vladimir] Putin for his unprovoked attack on Ukraine requires seizing the illicit funds of Russian oligarchs,” Sen. Wicker said.

The US senator from Mississippi argued that the proposed legislation would directly impact Russia’s “ruling class” by providing the US Department of Justice “increased latitude to act swiftly in preventing the liquidation of assets by Russian oligarchs.”
Per the bill draft, funds derived from the sale of seized assets would go directly to “post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine” and related programming such as “humanitarian assistance,” military aid for Kiev’s forces, efforts on refugee resettlement, “or technology and services ensuring the free flow of information to the Ukrainian people.”
The latter program would reportedly involve efforts geared toward countering internet censorship imposed by the Kremlin, circumventing efforts to disrupt or shut down internet services and bolstering cybersecurity capabilities.

“It is imperative Congress work with the Department of Justice in a timely manner to update our laws and create new authorities to go after the bad guys,” tweeted Sen. Graham, who adopted a less radical rhetoric following a congressional rebuke earlier this month.

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) uses his phone as he attends the signing into law of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2022
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The draft also proposes the authorization of cash rewards administered by the US Department of the Treasury, that will be awarded to those who provide information “leading to the confiscation of funds or other property” of a sanctioned Russian or “foreign person,” as defined in the bill.
The proposed legislation details that a “foreign person” is defined as a foreign (non-US) individual subject to US sanctions whose wealth, “according to credible information, is derived in part through corruption linked to or political support for the regime of” Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While the funds are intended to go to Ukraine-related efforts, the US president holds the authority to impose additional terms and conditions related to the confiscation, sale, or ultimate transfer of assets.
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