US Treasury’s ‘Putin list’ features Jewish billionaires


(JTA) — Several Jewish billionaires, including the head of the European Jewish Congress, appear on a list of Russian politicians and oligarchs published by the U.S. Treasury as part of a sanctions law against Moscow.

The list of 114 politicians and 96 oligarchs, which was ordered by Congress in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, all rose to power under President Vladimir Putin. They are considered to be fair game for sanctions under legislation meant to punish Russia for its interference in the U.S. election, as well as other actions such as human rights violations, annexation of Crimea and ongoing military operations in eastern Ukraine.

Putin called the publication of the list on Monday evening a “hostile step,” The Associated Press reported.

“We were waiting for this list to come out, and I’m not going to hide it: We were going to take steps in response, and, mind you, serious steps, that could push our relations to the nadir,” he said. “But we’re going to refrain from taking these steps for now.”

The oligarchs list is copied from the Forbes magazine’s Russian billionaires’ rankings, only arranged alphabetically, according to AP.

Among the billionaires named are Vyacheslav Kantor, known as Moshe Kantor, and Roman Abramovich.

Kantor is a philanthropist who serves as president of the European Jewish Congress. In 2010 he established the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University. In 2017, Forbes estimated Kantor’s net worth at $3.1 billion, making him the 34th richest person in Russia and 620th richest person in the world.

Abramovich is the primary owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC, and the owner of the British soccer team Chelsea in the Premier League. In 2017, Forbes estimated Abramovich’s net worth at $9.1 billion, making him the 139th richest person in the world.

Also on the list is Mikhail Fridman, a duel Russian and Israeli citizen who lives in London, estimated to be worth $14.4 billion in 2017, making him the seventh richest person in Russia and 75th in the world. Vadim Moshkovich, the owner of Russia’s largest agricultural production company and a major donor to Moscow’s Jewish museum, estimated to be worth $2.3 billion, also appeared on the list.  The vice president of the World Jewish Congress, Boris Mints, also appeared, though he does not appear on the Forbes billionaires list.

The U.S. Treasury list also includes God Nisanov, who made his money in real estate and has a net worth of $3.1 billion, and Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, the founders of Russia’s SMP Bank.

The list includes Putin’s entire administration, as listed by the Kremlin on its website, plus the Russian Cabinet, all top law enforcement officials and chief executives of the main state-controlled companies, according to AP. Putin does not appear on the list, however.

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