The Trump administration is helping Vladimir Putin achieve a goal that’s eluded him for almost two decades—getting Russia’s billionaires to start repatriating some of their assets.
Relatively muted sanctions imposed during the Obama era over the conflict in Ukraine have only widened in scope and severity since Trump took office last year. The unpredictability of both the White House and Congress is forcing Russians to move money into state-run banks and rejig the offshore superstructure that’s sheltered fortunes here since communism’s collapse.
Tycoons and their executives say the rush to move assets beyond the reach of the U.S. Treasury started with the biggest enterprises in April, when Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg and their companies lost billions within hours of being hit with the harshest penalties to date.
Now the trend is accelerating, spurred by the threat of even more draconian measures over Russia’s alleged election meddling and nerve-agent attack on a turncoat spy in England.
“It’s toxic to be Russian,” said Oleg Vyugin, a former senior central bank official who is now chairman of the Moscow Exchange. “And the richer you are, the more toxic you are.”
For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-21/u-s-sanctions-are-driving-russian-billionaires-into-putin-s-arms