- The United States in new sanctions targets Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters, Katerina and Maria, who apparently are hiding Putin’s wealth.
- Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova, Putin’s daughter, works as a technology executive for the Russian government and defence industry.
- Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova heads government-funded genetics research.
The latest round of US sanctions on Russia includes two new targets: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters, Katerina and Maria, who are suspected of concealing Putin’s wealth, according to US officials.
According to details in the US sanctions package issued on Wednesday, Putin’s daughter Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova is a computer professional whose work helps the Russian government and defence industry.
Putin’s second daughter, Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova, is in charge of government-funded genetics research programs that have received billions of dollars from the Kremlin and are directly monitored by Putin, according to the US.
“We have reason to believe that Putin, and many of his cronies, and the oligarchs, hide their wealth, hide their assets, with family members that place their assets and their wealth in the U.S. financial system, and also many other parts of the world,” a senior U.S. administration official told reporters.
“We think many of Putin’s assets are concealed with his family members, which is why we’re going for them,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
The daughter and wife of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were also sanctioned on Wednesday. In reaction to what President Joe Biden called Russian “atrocities” in Ukraine, the US restricted Americans from investing in Russia and targeted Russian financial institutions and Kremlin officials.
Russia denies attacking civilians and claims that pictures of bodies in Bucha, north of Kyiv, were staged to justify more sanctions.
Moscow claims to be demilitarising and “denazifying” Ukraine with a “special military operation.” Ukraine and Western governments reject that as a bogus excuse for Russia’s invasion.
In Russia, the extent of Putin’s fortune is a sensitive topic. Last year, the Kremlin denied that Putin had an opulent palace on the Black Sea, as opposition lawmaker Alexei Navalny said in a video that went viral on YouTube.
In February, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov argued that sanctions imposed on Putin were pointless.
“(Putin) is quite indifferent. The sanctions contain absurd claims about some assets,” Peskov said. “The president has no assets other than those he has declared.”
However, politicians in the United States feel otherwise.
“Putin and his oligarchs stow their dirty money in rule-of-law countries by purchasing mansions, mega-yachts, artwork, and other high-value assets,” US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said a few weeks ago, while introducing legislation providing cash rewards for information leading to the seizure of assets held by sanctioned Russian oligarchs.