A U.S. Justice Department attorney did not dispute Tuesday that the Treasury Department based its list of designated Russian oligarchs on a lineup of billionaires that Forbes magazine published in 2017, as a federal judge heard arguments from a Moscow-born American businessman who says he should be removed from the roster of purported cronies of Vladimir Putin.
Lawyers for the businessman, Valentin Gapontsev, argued the Treasury Department included him on a list of Russian oligarchs without taking up a serious inquiry of whether he was, in fact, connected to Putin’s regime. Instead, Gapontsev’s attorneys said, the Treasury Department had effectively copied a Forbes list of wealthy Russians and tagged them as “oligarchs.”
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