Russian Billionaire Pulls Yacht Into Gibraltar & Is Seized Immediately

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One of the ways in which Western governments are placing pressure on the Russians, in addition to sanctions, has been by cracking down on corruption and targeting the exploitative oligarchs of the country.

In Gibraltar, authorities detained a yacht docked there by a Russian oligarch. The man, Russian billionaire Dmitrievich Pumpyansky, appeared to have tried to sail around the European countries that had sanctioned Russia and acted to address the corruption there.

According to Reuters:

‘Reuters TV footage showed the “Axioma”, believed to be owned by Dmitrievich Pumpyansky, owner of steel group TMK (TRMK.MM), moored at Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, flying a Maltese flag. Britain imposed sanctions on hundreds of Russian individuals and entities last week, enabling authorities to freeze their assets.’

This focus on oligarchs follows a long history of corruption in Russia, but oligarchy is a problem across the Western world, as well. Frank Vogl, an expert on kleptocracy, wrote in an op-ed for for NBC News about the control oligarchs have in the West and how the United States has failed over time to hold them accountable.

‘The impact of vastly wealthy foreign businesspeople on the real estate markets in Manhattan, Miami, Vancouver and what is nowwidely called “Londongrad” is the tip of the iceberg of global oligarchs’ far-reaching impact on Western economies and, most worryingly, security. Their money and power help them prop up adversarial, anti-democratic regimes — and interfere with our own exercise in representative government.’

The U.S. government has, however, committed to correcting this failure, particularly amidst the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s continues to commit war crimes against the smaller and less powerful nation. The Department of the Treasury announced the Kleptocracy Asset Rewards Program, designed to address corruption and

‘Congress established the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program to further the U.S. government’s commitment to combating foreign government corruption and serve United States efforts to identify and recover stolen assets, forfeit proceeds of corruption, and, where appropriate and feasible, return those stolen assets or proceeds to the country harmed by the acts of corruption (see Sections 9701-9703 of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, Pub. L. No. 116-283).  The Program may pay rewards to qualified individuals who provide information leading to the restraint or seizure, forfeiture, or repatriation of “stolen assets,” as defined by the law, linked to foreign government corruption.’