The proposal to Congress accompanies a request for billions more in funds to help Ukraine’s military.
US President Joe Biden is asking Congress for new powers to seize and repurpose the assets of Russian oligarchs.
The request is part of a larger funding proposal to help for ukraine while continuing to try to repel the invasion of Russia launched on February 24.
In a statement, the White House described the proposal as a “comprehensive legislative package” and said it would “enhance the authority of the United States government to retain the Russian government and Russian oligarchs responsible for President Putin’s war against Ukraine.”
Among the measures, Biden has called on lawmakers to make it a criminal offense for a person to “knowingly or intentionally possess proceeds obtained directly from corrupt dealings with the Russian government.”
The measures would also double the statute of limitations for foreign money laundering offenses to 10 years, expand the definition of “extortion” under US law to include efforts to evade sanctions, and allow the federal government to use proceeds from sale seized assets of sanctioned Russian oligarchs to help the people of Ukraine.
The White House announced the plan Thursday, shortly before Biden formally asks for billions of dollars in additional US charges intended to supply the Ukrainian army during a speech at the White House.
He will also ask for funds to boost Ukraine’s economy and support the millions of refugees who fled the Russian invasion two months ago.
In a virtual address to the leaders of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank last week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for profits from sanctioned properties and Central Bank reserves to be used to compensate Ukraine for its losses. .
He said frozen Russian assets “have to be used to rebuild Ukraine after the war, as well as to pay for losses caused to other nations.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at the time that congressional action would be needed to authorize such actions.
To date, the war has caused over $60 billion in damage to buildings and infrastructure, World Bank President David Malpass said last week. And the IMF in its latest world economic outlook stated that Ukraine’s economy will contract by 35 percent this year and next.
In recent weeks, the US and its global allies have dozens sanctioned of oligarchs and their families, along with hundreds of Russian officials involved in or believed to support his invasion of Ukraine.
The White House has said the new tools will toughen the impact of sanctions on Russia’s economy and its ruling class by making sanctions more difficult to evade.
Meanwhile, the request for funding will reach the top $13.6 billion that Congress approved last month on military and economic aid to help Ukraine and other allies in the region deal with the aftermath of a war now in its ninth week.