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All About the Rubles: Biden Nominee Has Six-Figure Investment in Sanctioned Russian Bank

President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. attorney in Kansas owns hundreds of thousands of dollars in shares of a Russian bank sanctioned for financing the war in Ukraine.

Kate Brubacher and her husband own between $103,000 and $280,000 of Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution, according to financial disclosures obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. They had a small amount in Russian rubles, and they received $1 million as a result of an investment at the Moscow Stock Exchange.

While there is no indication that Brubacher’s investments are illegal, they put her at odds with the Biden administration’s tough stance against Russia in the wake of the Ukraine war. Sberbank was sanctioned by the Treasury Department on February 24, 2022. It stated that the bank, which is state-controlled, was in violation of sanctions. “uniquely important” to Russia’s economy and helped finance the war. Those sanctions expanded on a round of sanctions placed on Sberbank in 2014, after Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Herman Gref, chief executive of Sberbank was sanctioned by the Treasury Department on March 24,

Biden issued an executive decree on June 6, 2022 which prohibited Americans from buying new Russian stocks. Existing shareholders were not required to sell their stakes.

Biden in November nominated Brubacher to lead the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas. Her previous duties included being an assistant district attorney in Jackson County. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear her nomination.

Although Brubacher is unlikely to be confirmed as a Kansas prosecutor for Russia-related cases, the Justice Department oversees investigations into sanction violations. During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the agency increased enforcement of these statutes through indictments of firms doing business with sanctioned businesses or the seizing of assets of sanctioned Russians.

It is not clear when Grayson Murphy and Brubacher acquired their Sberbank shares. Murphy’s firm, Murphy Investments, Inc., controls between $100,000 and $250,000 of the shares. Murphy has between $2,000 and $30,000 of Sberbank in Individual Retirement Accounts, Brubacher’s disclosure shows.

The dividends received by the investments ranged from $15,001 to $50,000. Brubacher as well as Murphy also received between $100,000.001 and $1 Million in capital gains or dividends at the Moscow Stock Exchange.

The White House, Brubacher and other representatives did not respond to inquiries for comment.


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