Ratting Out Russian Assets For Potentially $5 Million Is The Only Time You Should Talk To The Feds

A member of the crew cleans the bow of the PHI superyacht, impounded by a unit of Britain’s National Crime Agency

A member of the crew cleans the bow of the PHI superyacht, impounded by a unit of Britain’s National Crime Agency
Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS (Getty Images)

Normally, if you’re staring down a suit from the feds, you’re going to want to clam up and call a lawyer. The only time this advice doesn’t hold true is when you can both make up to $5 million and screw over a Russian oligarch, or at least a treasonous American in their employ, at the same time.

It’s called the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program and here’s how it works: any American not employed by a foreign, state, federal or local government can call the tip line at +1- 202-622-2050 or send an email to [email protected].

The feds will keep callers’ identity confidential, but tipsters also can’t be involved in anything too shady themselves. If the tip leads to the seizure, forfeiture or reparation of stolen Russian assets affected by U.S. sanctions, you get a reward of up to $5 million, depending on what the Interagency Review Committee decides the asset in question is worth though the Secretary of State and Attorney General have final say on the amount.

Here’s what qualifies as tip material:

The Secretary of the Treasury has statutory authority to offer rewards up to a maximum of $5,000,000 for information leading to the (1) the restraint or seizure (2) forfeiture or (3) repatriation of stolen assets in an account at a U.S. financial institution (including a U.S. branch of a foreign financial institution), that come within the United States, or that come within the possession or control of any U.S. person.

[…]

By statute, the term “stolen assets” means financial assets within the jurisdiction of the United States constituting, derived from, or traceable to, any proceeds obtained directly or indirectly from foreign government corruption. The term “financial assets” means funds, investments, or ownership interests, that, after January 1, 2021, come within the United States or that come within the possession or control of any U.S. person.

There’s already folks out there on the hunt for Russian assets. New York Magazine had a cool story about amateur sleuths who have already identified $450 million in Russia-held real estate in the U.S. That’s got to be worth some serious scratch from the Treasury Department. Hopefully, this program helps ferret out not just the stuff of the obscenely wealthy oligarchs, but the Americans who help them hide their ill-gotten gains in our country.

Reference-jalopnik.com

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