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In The News

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US seeks to seize $90 million jet belonging to Russian oligarch

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission. The United States has obtained a warrant to seize an Airbus jet owned by Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch, the Justice Department says. The aircraft, valued at $90 million, is currently in Kazakhstan, according to an affidavit in support of the seizure warrant. The warrant was signed by a U.S. district judge in New York after a federal agent submitted the affidavit, which also said Skoch was the owner of the Airbus “through a series of shell companies and trusts tied to his romantic partner.” Skoch, who is a member of the Russian State Duma, has been designated for sanctions since 2018 for alleged “long-standing ties to Russian organized criminal groups.” Further sanctions were imposed on him and his assets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Justice Department said after the Treasury Department designated Skoch in 2018 and continuing through 2021, U.S. dollar transactions were made to pay for the registration of the Airbus in Aruba and for aviation insurance premiums — each necessary to maintain and operate the Airbus. The United States and European Union have stepped up a crackdown on Russian oligarchs following Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. They have moved to seize luxury estates, superyachts, and aircraft of Russian billionaires known to have ties to Putin in an effort to pressure people close to him and in turn influence his decisions on the war. The United States had already revealed it was seeking to seize a $156 million superyacht belonging to Skoch. The 98-meter yacht is registered in the Cayman Islands but has most recently been docked at Port Rashid in Dubai.

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Oil Slides As Ukraine Readies Resumption Of Russian Crude Flow To Europe

Oil Slides As Ukraine Readies Resumption Of Russian Crude Flow To Europe Amid sanctions on Russian payments – which had reportedly stalled the flow of oil into Europe via Ukraine’s pipelines – a Hungarian refiner has paid the transfer fees enabling the spice oil to flow. Bloomberg reports that Hungarian refiner Mol says it paid Ukraine a transfer fee to restart crude oil flows from Russia to central and eastern European. “Mol has conducted negotiations with the Ukrainian and Russian parties on the resumption of transport through the Friendship pipeline, and transferred the fee due for the use of the Ukrainian section of the pipeline,” the refiner said in an emailed statement. “The Ukrainian party has pledged to resume the transport of crude oil within a matter of days, which had been halted a few days ago due to technical issues emerging on the banking front” Transneft issued a statement saying that Ukraine confirms it is ready to resume transit and oil may resume flowing to Slovakia by the end of Wednesday. As a reminder, the southern leg of the Druzhba pipeline, which delivers Russian crude through Ukraine to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, halted operations on Aug. 4 after European banks refused to transfer a payment from Transneft to its Ukrainian counterpart Ukrtransnafta JSC amid EU sanctions. Crude prices extended losses on the news as supply readies to resume with WTI back below $90… The state of Europe’s energy system remains fragile for sure as the continent is still grappling with constrained supplies of Russian natural gas and low river levels that are hindering the distribution of coal and diesel. Tyler Durden Wed, 08/10/2022 – 06:55

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