U.S. Sanctions Chechen Leader Kadyrov

In addition, the U.S. Treasury is sanctioning four Russians under a U.S. law known as the Magnitsky Act.

WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on five Russians and Chechens, including the head of the Russian republic of Chechnya, for alleged human rights abuses.

The new sanctions blacklisted Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader and a close ally of Vladimir Putin, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

U.S. authorities accused Kadyrov of overseeing “an administration involved in disappearances and extrajudicial killings.”

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed the sanctions, which freeze the banks accounts of those targeted, under a 2012 law known as the Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials linked to the death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian auditor and whistleblower. The act also seeks to hold responsible those U.S. authorities allege orchestrated or benefited from the death of Magnitsky.

Magnitsky was arrested and died in a Moscow jail in 2009 after discovering a $230 million tax fraud scheme, according to U.S. authorities. Supporters of Magnitsky say the Russian state murdered him by denying him adequate medical care after he was imprisoned on tax evasion charges. The Kremlin denies the allegation.

In addition to Kadyrov and one other Chechen official, the Treasury’s action on Wednesday targeted three Russians that U.S. authorities say were involved in the complex tax fraud scheme that Magnitsky exposed.

(Reporting by Joel Schectman, editing by G Crosse)