March 15, 2022

Whitehouse, Graham, Blumenthal, Wicker Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Seize Russian Oligarchs’ Assets to Aid Ukraine

Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act would commandeer sanctioned Russians’ private jets, yachts, mansions, art and other high-value assets

Washington, DC – Today, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) will introduce the new bipartisan Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act, to enable the seizure and sale of Russian oligarchs’ assets to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. This bill is the updated Senate version of a bipartisan House bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).

“Putin and his oligarchs stow their dirty money in rule-of-law nations by purchasing mansions, mega-yachts, artwork, and other high-value assets. We ought to seize those ill-gotten luxuries and put them to use helping the Ukrainian people. That would be a measure of justice for a nation besieged by a corrupt dictator,” said Senator Whitehouse, who leads the Munich Security Conference Congressional Delegation, formerly spearheaded by the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ). “I’m glad we’ve been able to carry forward the strong support for action that a bipartisan group of us forged in Munich. We remain united in our commitment to leveling a massive financial blow on Putin and his oligarchs.”

“Dictators like Putin care only about themselves and their cronies,” said Senator Graham. “It is long past time for all the Russian oligarchs – Putin’s partners in crime – to lose their yachts, luxury apartments, and their assets and pay a price for being part of a thuggish group – a nation-state that really is a mafia-state. I want to see the Department of Justice, Treasury, and law enforcement partners go in and take apartments, fine art, and seize yachts from a bunch of thugs and crooks. I want to put money on the table to have more weapons for Ukraine to fight. This is a good beginning on the long journey to push back against Putin and his misadventures.”

“This bill cracks down on the chief beneficiaries and enablers of Putin’s cruel and corrupt kleptocracy as he savagely invades Ukraine. As their assets are seized around the world, these ill-gotten profits can be used to support Ukrainian freedom fighters against Putin’s cruel war machine,” said Senator Blumenthal. “We should seize their super yachts, jets, mansions, penthouses, and other luxury possessions. The people of Ukraine need our support now more than ever. I’m proud to join Senators Whitehouse, Graham, and Wicker in this bipartisan effort.”

“Putin’s cronies fuel and embolden his worst behavior,” Senator Wicker said. “Any serious attempt to punish Putin for his unprovoked attack on Ukraine requires seizing the illicit funds of Russian oligarchs. This act will help ensure U.S. actions hit Russia’s ruling class directly by giving the Department of Justice increased latitude to act swiftly in preventing the liquidation of assets by Russian oligarchs.”

With the Ukrainian people fighting bravely against Vladimir Putin and his corrupt regime, the senators’ new Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act would draw on the value of sanctioned Russian oligarch property to fund humanitarian aid.

The legislation would enable the president to declare an emergency upon finding that Russia is engaged in hostilities against Ukraine, unlocking the federal government’s authority to confiscate funds or property worth over $2 million from sanctioned Russians or foreigners linked to the Russian government. The funds derived from seizure and sale of oligarch assets would go toward post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine, humanitarian assistance, military assistance for the armed forces of Ukraine, supporting refugees and their resettlement, or technology and services to ensure the free flow of information to the Ukrainian people.

The bill would also authorize cash rewards administered by the Treasury Department for people who provide information leading to the confiscation of assets, or to any nonprofit humanitarian organization that identifies ill-gotten assets for seizure.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.

Rich Davidson (Whitehouse), 202-228-6291

Toby Douthat (Graham), 202-224-5972

Maria McElwain (Blumenthal), 202-224-6452

Phillip Waller (Wicker), (202) 224-6253

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921