The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Clark Gascoigne

Phone: (202) 813-0290


U.S. Freeze of Russian Oligarch Assets Welcomed by FACT Coalition

Long-needed Financial Secrecy Reforms Should be Accelerated to Identify Sanctioned Wealth


The FACT Coalition welcomed the White House announcement of a "multilateral Transatlantic task force" to identify and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs.

"To sanction kleptocrats and oligarchs effectively, you need to know what they own and how they own it," said Ian Gary, executive director of the FACT Coalition. "To truly stand with the people of Ukraine, the U.S. must enact long-needed financial transparency and anti-money laundering reforms."

The White House effort to "find and freeze" Russian oligarch assets is made more difficult by existing financial secrecy afforded by U.S. law and an under-funded Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the Treasury Department that needs additional resources to counter national security threats.

"The secrecy currently afforded by the U.S. and other Western legal and financial systems contributed to President Putin's empowerment," said Gary. "A global offshore illicit finance system has been allowed to flourish for decades, threatening democracies and innocent lives. Gaps in the U.S. anti-money laundering regulations now jeopardize the long-term effectiveness of the world's response to the unprovoked Russian invasion and must be closed as soon as possible."

Anonymous shell entities in the U.S. are a favorite tool for kleptocrats and criminals to protect and hide their wealth in the U.S. Russian oligarchs have also used the $50 trillion U.S. real estate market and the $11 trillion dollar private investment market to hide and launder wealth.

"Thankfully, President Biden is pursuing financial secrecy reforms to permanently curb abuse by kleptocrats such as Putin, his cronies, and criminals all over the world," said Gary. "The new U.S. strategy to counter global corruption laid out the seriousness of the threats and the whole-of-government approach needed to respond."

The Treasury Department is implementing the Corporate Transparency Act, a law that would help end the use of anonymous shell companies by establishing a database of the true ownership of corporate and other entities. In addition, the Treasury Department took the first step in December to create a nationwide regulatory regime to end money laundering through the U.S. real estate sector. Finally, the Biden Administration has committed to extend anti-money laundering obligations to the private investment market.

The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition is a non-partisan alliance of more than 100 state, national, and international organizations working toward a fair tax system that addresses the challenges of a global economy and promoting policies to combat the harmful impacts of corrupt financial practices.

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