Japanese and Russian crime groups sanctioned by U.S.
February 23rd, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Japanese and Russian crime groups sanctioned by U.S.

By Jennifer Liberto from CNNMoney

The Treasury Department announced new sanctions Thursday against two alleged international crime groups, Yamaguchi-gumi of Japan and the Brothers' Circle, which spans several former Soviet nations.

Treasury is directing U.S. banks to freeze assets of nine members of the groups because they pose a "threat to the integrity of the U.S. financial system," said David S. Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. Speaking to reporters Thursday, Cohen declined to say how much money might be at stake.The sanctions are the first under a July presidential order directing federal agencies to target "significant" criminal organizations abroad, Cohen said.

Seven people facing sanctions are in the Brothers' Circle crime group and are involved in criminal activity in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, according to Treasury. Two of those members, Vladislav Leontyev, 40, of Russia and Vasily Khristoforov, 39, also of Russia, are allegedly involved in drug trafficking and a shooting that took place in a turf war within Russian organized crime over control of a precious metals enterprise, Treasury said.

The other mafia group that Treasury is targeting is the Japan-based Yamaguchi-gumi, which is allegedly involved in an array of black-market trading of weapons and drugs, as well as money laundering. The sanctions are aimed at the group and its leaders Kenichi Shinoda, 70, and Kiyoshi Takayama, 64, both of Japan.

"The power of these sanctions is that it exposes these individuals and makes it much more difficult for them to operate going forward," Cohen said.

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Filed under: Japan • Russia • Sanctions
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  9. Michael Wind

    sanctions that means that we are aware of russian mafia in usa and law enforcement is a failure.

    March 3, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
  10. American Patriot

    What about the israeli spy agency AIPAC – Why doesn't cnn present a story on the illegal activities of the AIPAC?

    Come on WW3, Baby!

    February 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Reply

    Treasury is directing U.S. banks to
    freeze assets of nine members hmm too bad.

    February 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  12. Lord Haw-Haw

    About time we went after the REAL enemies of the American people.

    February 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • Richard

      The problem with that is that WE elected them.

      March 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply

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