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US gets court OK to seize Russian Lukoil’s $45 million jet

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By Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Justice Department announced on August 31 that the United States had obtained a warrant from a district court to seize a $45 million Boeing aircraft owned by Russian oil and gas giant Lukoil based on a violation of sanctions dating back to the Russia’s partial invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

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It cited “probable cause…based on violations of federal law,” adding that the plane “flew into and out of Russia in violation of the Department of Commerce’s sanctions against Russia.”

The Boeing 737-7EM bearing the tail number “VP-CLR” is thought to be in Russia, the Justice Department added.

Lukoil, officially PJSC Lukoil and headquartered in Moscow, is Russia’s largest nonstate company by revenues.

It has been under U.S. sanctions since 2014 as a result of measures adopted after Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and launched its backing for armed separatists elsewhere in eastern Ukraine.

The Justice Department cited the Lukoil jet’s flight to Texas in March 2019 with a “Russian oligarch” aboard whom it identified as Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov, who is thought to control Lukoil and is regarded as one of Russia’s richest people.

The United States, the European Union, and other entities have dramatically increased their financial, travel, diplomatic, and other sanctions against Russia since President Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops into Ukraine on February 24.

As a result, hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of luxury yachts and other assets of Russians who prospered under Putin’s two-decade reign have been seized.

Source: American Military News