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01 February 2018, 12:33 | Katrina Lee
A Russian businessman who is on the Trump administration's list of Russian politicians and businessmen, released as part of a us law aimed at punishing Russia for meddling in the 2016 USA election, says he will nevertheless advocate for better ties with the West.
The document was drafted in accordance with the law on sanctions signed by US President Donald trump in August, although the inclusion in the list itself does not mean being targeted by sanctions by default.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that the administration could still impose sanctions.
The public U.S. document noted that inclusion on the list should "in no way be interpreted to impose sanctions" in of itself.
While Treasury emphasized that people on the list are not necessarily subject to US sanctions, the report has been denounced by the Russian government, which says it will further hurt relations with the U.S.
The administration also published a list of Russian oligarchs who could be sanctioned, as required by the law.
Putin for his part sought to turn the tables on Washington, claiming the USA wanted to see opposition leader Navalny elected president.
"'The names of and net worth of oligarchs in the unclassified version of the report were selected based on objective criteria drawn from publicly available sources, ' the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity".
"I know personally numerous business people on this list".
The Russian leader noted that a presidential children rights' ombudswoman was put on the list even though the US has pushed for resuming the adoption of Russian children by USA parents that Russia banned in 2012.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the report released by his office will lead to new sanctions against Russian Federation.
Russian Federation is ready to take "serious" reciprocal measures but will refrain from doing so for now, Putin added.
He said the list further complicates US-Russia ties as well as worldwide relations.
So are 96 wealthy Russians deemed "oligarchs" by the Treasury Department, which said each is believed to have assets totaling $1 billion or more.
"Since the enactment of the ... legislation, we estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planned or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions", she said. It triggered a fierce lobbying campaign, with Russia hawks in Congress pushing the administration to include certain names and lobbyists hired by Russian businessmen urging the administration to keep their clients off.
Drafted on the basis of the US legislation six months ago, the "Kremlin report" also has classified annexes, which include individuals with a lower official position or with a net worth below 1 billion dollars, as well as companies with state ownership of at least 25 percent and with 2016 revenues of 2 billion dollars or more. Where were Russia's senior court judges and the head of the election commission?
Putin noted sarcastically that his name isn't on the list, saying of the omission: "It hurts".
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