London: Russian President Vladimir Putin is now a war crime accused for invading Ukraine. The UN, the US, and EU have already announced certain counts of sanctions on Russia as their immediate response to Putin's decision to go for a war. But the wealth amassed by Putin's said to be cronies is reportedly over $17bn (£13bn) across the globe, is seen to remain to be eluded the sanctions.
A project to track the wealth of Russia's most powerful operators, including oligarchs and Russian officials who have close links with Putin, by a consortium of different media organisations, including the Guardian, partnering with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project did an initial assessment of the wealth.
The project revealed that the wealth has been spread in the form of offshore bank accounts, yachts, private jets and luxury properties across the globe, particularly in London, Tuscany and the French Riviera.
The Russian asset tracker project has a first look into the properties owned by 35 men and women, who have links with Putin, as claimed by the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Sharing the names and the firms with the western countries, Navalny's organisation has requested the countries to consider sanctions on the persons named on the list.
The list reportedly contains four of the wealthiest oligarchs, plus heads of state-controlled companies, prominent broadcasters, spy agency chiefs, ministers, political advisers and regional governors. The Guardian report claimed that the names mentioned in the list have been read out in the US Congress by lawmakers and sought tougher sanctions. The UK parliament by the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson, Layla Moran, has also demanded similar sanctions on the Russian elites in the UK.
The research so far has seen evidence, most of it dating from 2020 to the present, of the names being connected to more than 145 assets consisting of 35 mansions, 43 apartments and 27 other pieces of real estate. Seven yachts, plus 11 private jets and helicopters, worth a combined $2bn, have been identified as linked to just six individuals.