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IRS unit gets no funds to enforce sanctions on rich Russians

Rogue Valley

Lead or get out of the way
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Apr 18, 2013
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IRS unit gets no funds to enforce sanctions on rich Russians


For all of the talk about slapping sanctions on Russian oligarchs, there was a notable omission in the Ukraine aid package approved this month by Congress: An infusion of money for the IRS criminal investigation arm tasked with tracking down the pricey properties of the Russian elite didn't make the cut. The White House request to give the IRS $30 million for tracing financial activities associated with sanctioned people appeared to run afoul of broader reluctance by Republicans to put more money into IRS enforcement actions. Republicans close to the spending bill negotiations said the mission of the IRS should be to administer and enforce the U.S. tax code, not to enforce sanctions. The only Treasury agency that did not receive its request was IRS Criminal Investigation.

A lack of funding for the IRS criminal investigations unit “damages the ability of our law enforcement community to do its work” said Danny Glaser, a former Treasury assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes. “The IRS criminal investigators are some of the best financial investigators in the world. It's important they are at full strength. "In its funding request to Congress, the White House said the $30 million would expand IRS Criminal Investigation's capability to find links between various businesses, conduct digital asset tracing, and identify the ownership of assets owned by oligarchs and others linked to Putin. That money would have included purchasing more than 50 licenses to databases that can access global public records, a Treasury official told The Associated Press, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. Currently, only five people have that capability.

If you were wondering why Russian billionaires are still enjoying their US mansions and moving their superyachts to safer harbors, you can thank Republicans for that gift to the oligarchs.

For all their tough sanctions talk, the GOP chose to not fund the IRS Criminal Investigation division which identifies Russian property in the US to be frozen/seized.

The EU slapped sweeping sanctions on Russian oligarchs — but now it's struggling to enforce them
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