The U.S. government has imposed a new round of sanctions against one of Russia’s oldest organized criminal gangs, known as “Thieves-in-Law.”
The U.S. Treasury Department targeted 10 alleged members of the group as well as designated the entire network as a transnational criminal organization (TCO).
“Treasury is designating the Thieves-in-Law as part of a broader strategy to disrupt the financial infrastructure of transnational criminal organizations that pose a threat to the United States and our allies,” said John Smith, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The Treasury Department said the Russian group engages in a variety of crimes, including money laundering, extortion, bribery and robbery in Russia, Europe and the United States. The crime group first emerged in the Soviet Union’s prison camps.
“The Thieves-in-Law is a Eurasian crime syndicate that has been linked to a long list of illicit activity across the globe,” Smith said.
The new U.S. designation means that U.S. individuals and firms are banned from doing business with Thieves-in-Law or with people linked to the group. It also means that assets held by the crime organization in the United States can be frozen.
The Treasury Department also named two companies as part of the sanctions for being connected to the crime syndicate — a luxury spa hotel in the Russian resort of Sochi and a Moscow publishing house.