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Targeting the Oligarchs with Andrew Adams

KleptoCapture task force director Andrew Adams joins Washington Post Live (Video: The Washington Post)

The U.S. Department of Justice is focusing on Russian oligarchs and the financial institutions that have helped them move money and evade U.S. sanctions. Andrew Adams, the veteran federal prosecutor tapped to lead the Justice Department’s new “KleptoCapture” task force joins Washington Post columnist David Ignatius to discuss efforts to investigate, arrest and prosecute those whose unlawful accumulation of wealth enables the Russian government in its war against Ukraine.

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“It’s certainly on the radar of what we’re looking at. There are aspects of the blockchain and aspects of cryptocurrency that are attractive to money launderers generally…The attractive aspects tend to be the cross-border nature of it how quickly you can move it from jurisdiction to another and the pseudonymous nature of cryptocurrency…But…pseudonymous movement of money is not anonymous movement of money. And we do have tool to unwind who is behind particular transactions. Where the currency came from and where it sits today.”- Andrew Adams (Video: Washington Post Live)
“We’re seeing public statements by people who are listed on OFAC’s list, people who may expect to be listed on OFAC’s list, distancing themselves from the Putin regime. From the brutality of this war and the illegality of this war and posturing themselves in a way that may appear to suggest that they do want to assist. In some instances, I think the realistic probability of that being a sincere overture is low. In some instances, the question is, what do you want to actually do...Standing up in the press and saying that you condemn a way that is so easily condemnable, in my mind is too little too late. If you want to come and assist, then you know where to find me.” - Andrew Adams (Video: Washington Post Live)
“The question of what the goal is, is one that we keep in mind every day as we’re rolling out the efforts of the task force. There are a couple of different categories of targets. And I think it’s important to think about the possibilities of success and what defines success according to each one of those categories...In this case what we’re talking about is a set of people who…provide money to the state when it’s necessary…provides propaganda and the machinery for propaganda and provide public support for the regime. With respect to this set, in part it slows down…the ability of the state to finance itself or propaganda machines to roll out. That would count as success to the extent that we can take action there.”- Andrew Adams (Video: Washington Post Live)

Andrew Adams

Director, Task Force KleptoCapture