The US Minister of Justice announced on Wednesday that he had finalized the first transfer of confiscated Russian funds to help rebuild Ukraine.
In February, Merrick Garland had authorized the allocation to Ukraine of 5.3 million dollars seized from the accounts of the Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeïev.
“I had authorized the transfer of these funds (…) to remedy the evils of the unjust war” led by Moscow in Ukraine, he recalls in a press release. The sum “has now been transferred to the State Department and will be dedicated to this cause”, he adds.
“This is the first transfer by the United States of seized Russian funds in order to rebuild Ukraine, but not the last,” he wrote again.
The United States announced in March 2022, shortly after the start of the invasion, the creation of a cell dedicated to the prosecution of “corrupt Russian oligarchs” and all those who violate the sanctions adopted by Washington against Moscow.
Since then, the Americans have sanctioned and blocked ships and planes worth more than a billion dollars, as well as freezing hundreds of millions of assets of Russian elites in American accounts.
In particular, in April 2022 they seized funds belonging to Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeïev, who is considered to be one of the main sources of funding for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
At the same time, the American courts had charged him with having sought to acquire and secretly manage media outlets across Europe, in violation of the sanctions against him.
Democratic President Joe Biden had wanted from the start of the conflict to allocate the seized property to aid for Ukraine. To do so, however, the authorities must prove that they are linked to an illegal activity, which is not always easy.