Unnamed US officials speaking to NBC News have confirmed that US intelligence agencies "played a role" in compiling the so-called "Kremlin Report" list of 210 Russian officials and businessmen in January, as required under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) signed into law signed last year.
One official told the broadcaster that the sanctions process was laborious and took weeks, but that the final decision on who would be included in the list of targeted individuals finalized in the last few days. The officials offered did not provide any names.
Another unnamed official told NBC News that the individuals to be named Friday may be sanctioned directly under the provisions of CAATSA or by a different authority.
However, another individual familiar with the situation complained that the delay in introducing the sanctions gave the wealthy Russians plenty of time to restructure their US holdings, subsequently blunting the effect of the new restrictions. "They had to know these were coming," he said.
The Kremlin Report includes 114 Russian politicians, including members of the presidential administration and the government, as well as 95 businessmen. Inclusion on the list does not mean automatic sanctioning, but does mean that restrictions can be introduced sometime in the future. President Putin called the move an "unfriendly step" which would be certain to harm Russian-US relations.