**The Middlemen at the Heart of an Oligarch-Industrial Complex**
**They oversee the flow of billions of dollars from Putin-connected Russians to companies involved in superyachts and villas. They’ve drawn the attention of a U.S. task force.**
**By Michael Forsythe, Gaia Pianigiani and Julian E. Barnes, The New York Times, June 1, 2022**
**An array of businesses across Europe, including German shipbuilders, Italian carpenters, French interior design firms and Spanish marinas, together employ thousands of people. ..An oligarch-industrial complex oversees the flow of billions of dollars from politically connected Russians to that network of companies...**
**[Middleman companies] are now under scrutiny by a U.S. government task force, called KleptoCapture, that is trying to disrupt the Russian war machine by going after the assets of oligarchs tied to Mr. Putin. After some high-profile raids and seizures, the Americans are focusing on the network of enablers working outside of Russia. Investigators from the F.B.I., the Treasury and several intelligence agencies are gathering evidence showing that businesses and individuals knowingly aided Russians under sanctions whose wealth came through corruption, making them vulnerable to U.S. charges....**
**Together, the three luxury superyachts may have cost as much as $1.6 billion, enough to buy six new frigates for the Russian navy....** [end quote]
Also luxury homes and dachas in Italy and Russia and who knows where else.
The kleptocrats skim from the Russian people (as Russian nobles always have) and the middlemen skim from the keptocrats.
What a system!