- The US Treasury Department confirmed to Buzzfeed News that it used a Forbes article to create the “Putin list.”
- The Treasury used a Forbes article about the wealthiest Russian businessmen to compile a list of 96 supposed Russian oligarchs engaging in corruption.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin called the list a “hostile step.”
The Treasury told BuzzFeed News that it used a Forbes article titled the “200 richest Russian businessmen in 2017” to create the “Putin list,” which Congress ordered the Treasury to make in response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Congressional bill required the Treasury to create “a detailed report on senior political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation … and on Russian parastatal entities.”
President Donald Trump signed the bill into legislation in August 2017, but called it “seriously flawed.”
The Treasury released the list of 114 Russian politicians and businessmen, 96 of whom were labelled oligarchs, on Monday night.
But “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 Treasury official told Buzzfeed News.
Henry Foy, a Financial Times correspondent based in Moscow,tweeted Monday night that there was “Much guffawing in Moscow as US ‘oligarch list’ is carbon copy of Forbes list of $US1bn+ Russians.”
“But we’ve only seen the unclassified version,” Foy writes. “Classified report expected to include details of Kremlin relations, closeness to Putin and potential grounds for sanctions.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the list a “hostile step,” but said he would not retaliate, and even appeared to express confusion about the list, the Associated Press reported.
“What is the point of this? I don’t understand,” Putin said.
When asked why the list was of the richest Russian businessmen, and not oligarchs suspected of corruption, the Treasury Department told Business Insider in an email that the “report complies with requirements” of the law, adding that there’s also a classified portion of the report.
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