John Smith spoke to Slate about KleptoCapture, a transatlantic task force to uncover and block the foreign assets of Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and what might happen if the U.S. expands its list of sanctioned persons.
While governments can easily block access to assets from bank accounts to apartments, confiscating them permanently is more complicated.
“Shopping centers, a luxury apartment in midtown [Manhattan] – what’s happening is that OFAC [the Office of Foreign Assets Control] comes, everyone has to get out of the property, they padlock the door, and it sits. If it’s a yacht, it’s locked. That happens immediately. OFAC signs a piece of paper and it’s effective. You have to make sure it doesn’t sink.”
He added: “But to take title, it generally has to involve some kind of process.”
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