Putin has a lot of gold and Susie Lee wants to lock it up

By: - March 14, 2022 3:55 pm

(Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash)

Nevada Democratic Rep. Susie Lee is among a bipartisan group in Congress sponsoring legislation designed to stop Vladimir Putin from selling off some $130 billion worth of gold reserves held in Russia.

The House bill announced Monday mirrors a bipartisan Senate version that was unveiled last week.

The legislation would prohibit a U.S. person or entity from knowingly buying, selling or transporting gold currently held in Russian central bank vaults.

“We must continue to paralyze Russia using every tool we have,” Lee said in a statement. “Not only will this bill close a critical loophole that allows Russia to fund its illegal, unjust war by selling off gold reserves, it will also block Russian leaders from getting around the strong sanctions coordinated by the U.S. and our allies.”

Russia has been on a gold buying spree over the last several years, and in 2018 became the world’s fifth largest holder of gold reserves, after the U.S., Germany, Italy and France.

“Russia’s massive gold supply is one of the few remaining assets that Putin can use to keep his country’s economy from falling even further,” said Maine independent Angus King, the lead sponsor of the Senate bill.

After a year of selling mostly in the $1,800 per ounce range, gold, considered by some investors to be a safe haven in times of economic turmoil, saw a substantial price jump to more than $2,050 an ounce earlier this month. The price has since retreated to below $2,000.

Lee’s fellow House sponsors of the “Stop Russian GOLD” Act are Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, and Republicans Peter Meijer of Michigan,  Joe Wilson of South Carolina, and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

Joining King in sponsoring the Senate measure are Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan.

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.