The team of US Attorney General Robert Muller, who is investigating the alleged intervention of Russia in the presidential election in 2016, interrogated two Russian businessmen who visited the United States in recent weeks. This was reported on Thursday by CNN with reference to several well-informed sources.
According to her, one of the "Russian oligarchs" was interrogated after his private plane landed at one of the airports in New York. He watched electronic devices. The second businessman was interviewed during his trip to the United States. It remains unclear whether he was searched and whether any other investigative actions were carried out against him.
RBC, based on the open data of the Flightradar24 service, which tracks the movement of aircraft in the online mode, found out that in March, several Russian billionaires flew to New York.
So, the Boeing 767-300ER with the P4-MES number was in New York on March 12 and 16, it follows from Flightradar24's data. According to Forbes magazine, it belongs to the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Airbus A319 with the number M-RBUS was in New York on March 20 and 21, this aircraft belongs to billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Airbus A319-115 (CJ) with the number P4-MIS from March 6 to 11 made several flights to the US on the route Boston - New York - Washington - New York. According to the site private-jet-fan.com, which collects information about the owners of private jets, its owner is billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.
The representative of Abramovich declined to comment, but a source close to the businessman said that he was not interrogated in the US. A source close to Prokhorov told RBC that the businessman was not interrogated and he is not involved in the investigation of the US Special Prosecutor's Office. Representatives of Vekselberg have not yet responded to the request of RBC. The representative of the US Special Prosecutor's Office declined to comment.
On Thursday it also became known that the US plans to impose sanctions against several Russian oligarchs. The Kremlin is aware of reports in the media about the possible introduction of US sanctions against Russian businessmen, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. However, he doubted that there are "oligarchs" in Russia. "The phrase" Russian oligarchs "is inappropriate. It's a long time ago when Russia had oligarchs. There are no oligarchs in Russia, "he said.
Abramovich, Prokhorov and Vekselberg appear in the so-called Kremlin list, which the US Treasury Department released on January 30. In total, 210 people were brought in - representatives of Russian business, members of the Russian government and its head Dmitry Medvedev, as well as some heads of state corporations. In their respect, new sanctions can be introduced, as later announced by the US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin.
Sanctions, according to Reuters, threaten the Russians under US law "On Countering America's opponents through sanctions" (CAATSA). It was signed by US President Donald Trump in August 2017. The law allows to impose sanctions against individuals and legal entities. The first Russians, who fell under the sanctions for CAATSA, were employees of the so-called troll factory. After US Attorney General Robert Muller charged 13 Russians suspected of interfering in the election of the US President in 2016, the Ministry of Finance imposed sanctions not only against them, but also against two people whom the US identified as members of the GRU, the Main Intelligence Agency (now called the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation). The assets available to the US were to be frozen. At the same time, the US Treasury issued a statement in which it promised "to introduce additional sanctions in accordance with the CAATSA law to hold Russian officials and oligarchs accountable for destabilizing actions." Sanctions, as follows from the release, will be expressed in "toughening their access to the US financial system."
The state of Vekselberg global Forbes estimates at $ 14.6 billion, it ranks 99th in the list. He owns the US Columbus Nova investment fund, which manages assets worth more than $ 2 billion, says the Renova Group website. Abramovich and Prokhorov have even closer ties with the United States.
Abramovich, with a 30.76% stake, is the main shareholder in the steel company Evraz with assets in the US. The companies own factories for the production of pipes, rolled products and rails - Evraz Portland and Evraz Pueblo. In addition, according to media reports, he purchases mansions in New York. The state of its global Forbes estimates at $ 11.6 billion, Abramovich ranked 140th in the list.
Mikhail Prokhorov with a fortune of $ 9.6 billion takes 158th place in the global ranking of Forbes. At the end of December 2015, he became the sole owner of the New York club "Brooklyn Nets" of the National Basketball Association. Now he sells 49% of the Brooklyn Nets and 45% stake in the New York Barclays Center to the co-founder of Alibaba Internet retailer Joseph Tsai for $ 2.4 billion. At the same time, Prokhorov plans to remain the club's main owner:
Михаил Прохоров с состоянием $9,6 млрд занимает 158-е место в глобальном рейтинге Forbes. В конце декабря 2015 года он стал единственным владельцем нью-йоркского клуба «Бруклин Нетс» Национальной баскетбольной ассоциации. Сейчас он продает 49% в «Бруклин Нетс» и 45% акций нью-йоркского стадиона Barclays Center сооснователю интернет-ретейлера Alibaba Джозефу Цаю за $2,4 млрд. При этом Прохоров планирует остаться основным владельцем клуба:
"I am committed to the Brooklyn Nets and remain the main owner of the team. My goal of finding partners in the local market is to further strengthen the team's presence in New York to expand our business and social relationships. "
About his work with the Brooklyn Nets in an open media letter in February 2016, Prokhorov said: "If I had any concerns about how to be a stranger in a foreign country, the last six years convinced me that in The US is concerned only with your obligations, not your passport, your accent and your home address. "America," I said six years ago, "I came in peace. And I'm still in peace. "