June 29, 2022

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Justice Dept. Charges Russian Oligarch With Violating Sanctions

2 min read

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said on Wednesday that it had charged a Russian oligarch with violating U.S. sanctions and unveiled additional measures intended to counter Russian money laundering and disrupt online criminal networks in an effort to enforce financial penalties on Moscow.

The moves came as the United States has ratcheted up pressure on the Kremlin and some of the wealthiest Russians in light of growing evidence of atrocities in Ukraine and as Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said the United States was helping its European partners investigate potential war crimes.

The oligarch, Konstantin Malofeev, 47, is widely considered one of Russia’s most influential business moguls — he is said to have deep ties to President Vladimir V. Putin — and is among the more prominent conservatives in the country’s Kremlin-allied elite. (The indictment renders his surname as Malofeyev.)

The actions demonstrated the reach of a task force created last month to find and seize the assets of wealthy Russians who violate U.S. sanctions on Russia, and the penalties appeared meant to enforce the far-reaching economic sanctions that the United States has imposed along with European allies.

“The Justice Department will use every available tool to find you, disrupt your plots and hold you accountable,” Mr. Garland said, adding that officials had moved “to prosecute criminal Russian activity.” He pointed to the seizure this week of a $90 million yacht owned by Viktor F. Vekselberg, who was previously targeted with sanctions over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Garland said law enforcement was also pursuing Mr. Malofeev for illegally transferring money in violation of sanctions.

The criminal charges against Mr. Malofeev, which were unsealed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, follow an indictment filed there in March against a former Fox News employee, John Hanick. Mr. Hanick, an American citizen, is accused of working for the…

Zach Montague and Benjamin Weiser

2022-04-07 00:56:25

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