Bennet, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bills to Seize Russian Assets for Ukraine

Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined bipartisan, bicameral colleagues to introduce two pieces of legislation to seize Russian assets to provide additional assistance to Ukraine. The Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act would allow the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to seize high-value assets owned by sanctioned Russian oligarchs more quickly through existing administrative forfeiture processes and transfer the proceeds from those assets to Ukraine. The Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act provides additional assistance to Ukraine using assets confiscated from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and other sovereign assets of the Russian Federation.

“Over the past two years, the Ukrainian people have made tremendous sacrifices in the name of democracy. They are winning on the battlefield, and we cannot let them down on Capitol Hill,” said Bennet. “Putin and his oligarchs are directly responsible for the death, destruction, and dislocation wrought by their illegal war in Ukraine. These bills will make Russia pay by directing funds from their seized assets to support Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery.”

Russian oligarchs have played a major role in financing Russian aggression while profiting personally from their alliance with the Putin regime. The Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act would facilitate the forfeiture of oligarchs’ ill-gotten assets and the transfer of such proceeds to Ukraine. The bill would lift the $500,000 cap on administrative forfeitures of assets owned by Russian oligarchs and others that aid the Russian government in violation of U.S. laws. The bill would also clarify the DOJ’s transfer authority, ensuring that the U.S. government can transfer to Ukraine all the funds it acquires through seizure of Russian oligarch assets.

The REPO for Ukrainians Act will give the president the authority to confiscate Russian sovereign assets that have been frozen in the U.S. and transfer them to assist in Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts. It instructs the president to work with allies and partners to establish an international compensation mechanism to transfer confiscated or frozen Russian sovereign assets to assist Ukraine. The bill would prohibit the release of funds to sanctioned Russian entities until Russia withdraws from Ukraine and agrees to provide compensation for harm caused by its unprovoked war. It also gives the U.S. State Department Office of Sanctions Coordination additional resources to work with partners abroad toward the goal of confiscation of additional Russian sovereign assets in other countries.

Bennet has staunchly supported the Ukrainian people in their fight to defend their democracy against Russian aggression. Earlier this year, Bennet introduced similar bipartisan legislation to seize the assets of Putin and Russian oligarchs and direct the proceeds to benefit Ukrainian reconstruction and recovery, which was passed unanimously as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2023 federal spending bill. In September, Bennet briefly objected to a government funding resolution that failed to provide additional funding for Ukraine. Before the invasion, Bennet and Democratic colleagues introduced legislation to impose crippling sanctions on Russia.

The text of the Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act is available HERE. The text of the REPO for Ukrainians Act is available HERE