US authorities have accused Russian metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska and his associates of violating Washington sanctions.
The US Department of Justice on Thursday released an indictment accusing Deripaska and two aides – US citizen Olga Shriki and Russian national Natalia Mikhaylovna Bardakova – of conspiring to violate US sanctions imposed on the oligarch and his private investment company Basic Element.
Ekaterina Olegovna Voronina, Deripaska’s girlfriend, has been accused of making false statements to US authorities as she attempted to enter the country to give birth to the couple’s child.
“In the wake of Russia’s unjust and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, I promised the American people that the Department of Justice would work to hold accountable those who violate our laws and threaten our national security. “said Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, in a statement. statement Thursday. “Today’s charges demonstrate that we are keeping that promise.”
In April 2018, Deripaska and 23 other Russian oligarchs and government officials faced the toughest measures imposed by the United States in response to Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukrainian Crimea and alleged interference in US elections. of 2016.
The then mogul said the allegations were baseless and sued the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the division of the Treasury overseeing US sanctions policy. A US district court judge dismissed the lawsuit last year.
US authorities allege that after the 2018 sanctions, Deripaska illegally used the country’s financial system to hold three luxury properties in the country. Shriki in 2019 helped arrange the sale of a Californian music studio owned by Deripaska through several shell companies that raised over $3 million, which she attempted to transfer to an account owned by one of the companies of the oligarch, the DoJ said.
“While serving the Russian state and the energy sector, Oleg Deripaska sought to circumvent US sanctions through lies and deception to take advantage of and profit from the American way of life,” Lisa said. Monaco, Deputy Attorney General of the United States, in a press release.
“But front companies and webs of lies will not protect Deripaska and his cronies from US law enforcement, or protect those who support Putin’s regime,” she said in reference to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. .
The two associates are said to have helped Voronina travel from Russia to the US in 2020 to deliver her child, who has acquired US citizenship and whose last name has been changed slightly to hide a connection to the tycoon, according to the deed. of accusation. Shriki arranged payments of about $300,000 for childcare, medical care and other services in the United States, the DoJ said.
The trio tried this year to bring Voronina back to the United States for the birth of a second child, according to US authorities.
Between 2018 and 2020, Bardakova allegedly ordered Shriki to carry out illicit transactions on Deripaska’s behalf, including delivering an Easter gift to an American TV host and flowers to a former Canadian MP.
The indictment comes after the FBI searched a Washington residence linked to Deripaska last year. A spokesman for the then mogul said officers were searching two homes in Washington and New York belonging to his relatives.
The conspiracy to violate and evade US sanctions charge that Deripaska and his two associates face carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Shriki – who was arrested on Thursday – was also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting records of her involvement in the scheme after she received a grand jury subpoena, for which the maximum sentence is 20 years in prison. Bardakova and Voronina are charged with making false statements to federal agents, which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Deripaska did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and an attorney representing Shriki declined to comment. Bardakova and Voronina could not be reached for a response.
Additional reporting by Max Seddon