The luxury real estate of Russian oligarchs is under the control of the DOJ


  • US luxury real estate owned by Russian oligarchs is under scrutiny for money laundering.
  • Specifically “extremely expensive real estate in stable economies,” a DOJ official told CNN.
  • However, real estate must be subject to confiscation litigation before the government can seize it, he noted.

Wealthy Russians have long invested in luxury real estate across the United States, from high-end apartments in Florida to multimillion-dollar townhouses in New York.

Now those assets are “top” on the Justice Department’s list as the United States seeks to crack down on Russian money laundering, according to Andrew Adams, head of the Justice Department’s KleptoCapture task force.

“All kinds of assets are on the table, for sure. And bringing up real estate is particularly relevant,” Adams told CNN in an interview published Friday. “The way a lot of money laundering happens is through large, stable value assets. Real estate is high on the list for this type of investigation.”

Money laundering investigators are specifically looking for “extremely expensive real estate in stable economies”, he told the outlet.

The Biden administration created the KleptoCapture task force “to hold corrupt Russian oligarchs accountable” after invading Ukraine by seizing their US assets.

While luxury real estate remains a focus of the Justice Department, Adams noted that federal forfeiture law requires layers of litigation before the government can seize an individual’s private property. Last week, President Biden proposed a new White House plan that would speed up that legal process and allow the government to sell seized Russian assets to help fund Ukraine.

Compared to the rest of the world, US real estate is a stable, even profitable investment. But those features also make it “perfect for illicit actors to hide their money,” Gary Kalman, executive director of anti-corruption organization Transparency International, told Insider.

“I’m an anti-corruption guy, but I also believe in constitutional rights,” Kalman told Insider. “So we have a Fourth Amendment, you have due process and you have to go through the courts to take someone’s property.”

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