October 2, 2023

Why Putin’s daughters targeted by US?

Putin’s daughters

WASHINGTON: The US has added two additional targets to its newest round of sanctions against Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters, Katerina and Maria, whom US authorities suspect are hiding Putin’s money.

According to information in the US sanctions package issued on Wednesday, Putin’s daughter Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova is a tech professional whose work supports the Russian government and defence industries.

Putin’s other daughter, Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova, is in charge of government-funded genetics research initiatives that have received billions of dollars from the Kremlin and are personally overseen 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 US financial system, and also many other parts of the world,” a senior US administration official told reporters.

“We believe that many of Putin’s assets are hidden with family members, and that’s why we’re targeting them,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Putin’s daughters, their representatives, and the Kremlin could not be reached for comment immediately.

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 officials.

Russia denies striking civilians and claims that photographs of bodies in Bucha, north of Kyiv, were faked to justify increased penalties.

Moscow claims to be conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine to demilitarise and “denazify” the country. That is a bogus justification for Russia’s invasion, according to Ukraine and Western nations.

In Russia, the size of Putin’s fortune is a touchy matter. Last year, the Kremlin denied that he had an extravagant home on the Black Sea, as opposition politician Alexei Navalny claimed in a video that went viral on YouTube.

In February, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov argued that penalties imposed on Putin were meaningless.

“(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.”

Legislators in the United States, on the other hand, believe otherwise.

“Putin and his oligarchs stow their dirty money in rule-of-law nations by purchasing mansions, mega-yachts, artwork, and other high-value assets,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of the United States stated this a few weeks ago while introducing legislation offering financial rewards for information leading to the seizure of assets held by sanctioned Russian oligarchs.

Putin’s daughters, who the US suspects of assisting him in concealing his wealth, have never officially verified that the Russian leader is their father, and he has refused to address inquiries about them.

Katerina, an acrobatic rock ‘n’ roll dancer, has contacts and influence among the next generation of Moscow’s elite, according to a 2015 Reuters investigation.

“Katerina, 29, described herself as the spouse of Kirill Shamalov, son of Nikolai Shamalov, a longtime friend of President Putin,” the report said. “Shamalov senior is a shareholder in Bank Rossiya, which US officials have described as the personal bank of the Russian elite.”

According to financial analysts who spoke to Reuters, Kirill and Katerina had corporate stakes worth roughly $2 billion as husband and wife. This was on top of other assets and property.

According to the Reuters research, Putin’s elder daughter Maria studied biology at St. Petersburg University and medicine at Moscow State University. She’s also highly involved in genetic research, which Putin has previously described as a field that will “determine the future of the world.”

Maria married Dutch businessman Jorrit Joost Faassen, according to Russian and Western media reports.

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