President Vladimir Putin is using the threat of additional U.S. sanctions to promote wealthy Russians to repatriate some of their overseas assets, which exceed $ 1 trillion by one estimate.

Putin told lawmakers late Monday that a new capital amnesty program was needed” given the foreign regulations, which instead of mitigating are now worsening ,” according to a transcript posted on the Kremlin's website. This” should stimulate the return of capital to Russia ,” the president told, without specifying how long the measure will last.

” People should feel comfy and secure and it shouldn't involve additional expenses ,” Putin told Tuesday at a Cabinet meeting where he ordered officials to finalize the plan.

Russia rolled out a similar amnesty program during the worst of the conflict in Ukraine, which coincided with a plunge in oil prices that triggered the country's longest recession of the Putin era. That 18 -month initiative, the results of which haven't been disclosed,” didn't work as well as we'd hoped ,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told. Unlike that scheme, this one waives Russia's 13 percent taxation on personal income, according to Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman.

” We and our entrepreneurs are systematically faced unjustified and illegal asset freezes for the purposes of the guise of sanctions ,” Peskov said on a conference call Tuesday.” The president's initiative aims to create comfy conditions for businesses if they want to use this opportunity to repatriate their capital .”

Oligarch List

Since the U.S. and the European union first imposed sanctions on Russia for stoking the rebellion in eastern Ukraine and annexing Crimea, the Kremlin has sought to play down the impact of the penalties, rarely acknowledging fret. But that's beginning to change.

Last week, after the U.S. added several prominent Russians to its sanctions list, Putin approved a scheme first proposed by business leaders to issue special bonds designed to give the wealthy a way to hold their dollar assets out of the reach of the U.S. Treasury. And on Monday, Peskov warned that additional sanctions could lead to” unbearable hazards and dangers” for relations with the U.S ., which he told are already in a” pitiful nation .”

The detention last month in France of billionaire Russian Senator Suleiman Kerimov on distrust of tax evasion is just one example of the “witch hunt” Russians are facing in all regions of the West, according to Valentina Matvienko, a longtime Putin ally who heads the upper house of parliament.

A U.S. law that took effect in August calls for the Treasury Department to compile a listing of “oligarchs” and their companies as potential targets for additional penalties. The law also calls for a study of the possible impact of banning U.S. investors from purchasing sovereign Russian bonds, a move that could complicate the government's borrowing schemes.

The government hasn't given an estimate of the amount of wealth Russians hold abroad, but a study published in August by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based National Bureau of Economic Research put the figure at 75 percent of national income, or about 60 trillion rubles ($ 1.04 trillion ).

” There is as much financial wealth held a total of rich Russians abroad — in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Cyprus, and similar offshore centres — than held by the entire Russian population in Russia itself ,” said the authors of the study, including Thomas Piketty, who wrote the 2013 best-seller” Capital in the Twenty-First Century .”