WASHINGTON – The Justice Department said on Wednesday it had accused the Russian oligarch of violating US sanctions and revealed other ways to curb Russian money laundering and cybercrime in an attempt to impose economic sanctions on Moscow.
This came as the United States increased pressure on the Kremlin and some of Russia’s richest people based on growing evidence of atrocities in Ukraine and when Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said the United States was assisting European counterparts in investigating possible war crimes. .
Oligarch, Konstantin Malofeev, 47, is known as one of Russia’s most prominent business figures – said to have deep ties to President Vladimir V. Putin – and is one of the Kremlin’s most prominent independent individuals. -allied. (The case calls him Malofeyev.)
The incident marks the arrival of a group formed last month to seize and seize the property of wealthy Russian nationals who violate US sanctions on Russia, and the sanctions appeared to force the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. united.
“The Department of Justice will use every available tool to find you, disrupt your plans and prosecute you,” Garland said, adding that government officials “are moving to accuse the Russian people.” He also mentioned that this week’s $ 90 million yacht was seized from Viktor F. Vekselberg, who had previously been charged with felony criminal mischief for interfering in Russia’s 2016 presidential election.
Garland said police were also pursuing Malofeev’s money laundering activities.
Mr Malofeev’s terrorist charges, which were filed in Manhattan’s Federal District Court, follow a March March verdict against former Fox News employee John Hanick. Mr. Hanick, an American citizen, is accused of working for the oligarch from 2013 to 2017, and was arrested in February in London.
Officials from the Department of Justice said Wednesday that Malofeev’s charges were related to Hanick’s hiring “to work for him as a television operator in Russia and Greece and to try to get TVs in Bulgaria.”
The U.S. Treasury Department, in imposing sanctions on Mr. Malofeev in December 2014, described him as “one of the main sources of support for the Russian people who promote secession in Crimea.”
Damian Williams, a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Wednesday that the sanctions prevent Mr. Malofeev from paying or receiving assistance from U.S. citizens, or doing business with their goods in the United States.
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“They have systematically ignored the ban for years,” Williams said.
Mr Malofeev, who believes he is in Russia, is still alive, the Justice Department said. Mr Garland said the department had confiscated “millions of dollars” from a US financial institution he believed to be from Mr Malofeev.
The Justice Department also said it was taking steps to curb cyberbullying, including disrupting bot networks set up by Russia’s state legislature.
Mr. Garland also announced the seizure of Hydra Market, a black Russian-language drug market, fraudulent passports and other documents, and the theft of financial data. The department said it believes the market owns 80 percent of cryptocurrency trades on the dark internet, and nearly $ 5.2 billion in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were seized with the help of German authorities.
The announcement came in the wake of new sanctions against the United States and its allies on Wednesday targeting major Russian banks.
Zach Montague also from Washington, Benjamin Wiseer from New York.