Russia is considering taking control of jewelry worth as much as $1.6 million in value if it can raise the money to buy the coveted items, state news agency Tass reported.
The agency quoted a Russian official as saying that the country has been studying the possibility of selling off jewelry valued between $1 million and $2 million.
The idea was first floated by the deputy head of the Central Bank of Russia, Vladimir Konstantinov, in an interview with a state-run news outlet in September, according to Tass.
He said that Russia would sell off jewelry worth between $2.6 and $3 million to raise funds for a new gold and silver fund, Tass said.
The Russian leader’s suggestion has sparked concern in the United States, which worries that Russian officials could be using jewelry as a way to launder money and launder drug money.
The U.S. Treasury Department and the Treasury Department’s Criminal Investigation Division are investigating whether Russian officials laundered money through jewelry worth billions of dollars.
The jewelry is a form of cultural cultural heritage that has long been a staple of Russian society, and has long drawn tourists from across the globe.
Many of the items are in poor condition, and some are of poor quality.
Russia’s economy has shrunk sharply since Putin took office in 2000 and the country is suffering from an inflation rate that has exceeded 20 percent.