Indictment Alleges Use of Shell Companies, Nominees, Foreign Bank Accounts and Real Estate
On December 7, 2022, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (“DOJ”) unsealed a seven-count indictment against Andrii Derkach. In the corresponding press release, Derkach is described as a “Kremlin-backed Ukrainian politician and oligarch” who attempted to “influence the 2020 U.S. Presidential election on behalf of the Russian Intelligence Services.” Derkach was charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), bank fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and four counts of money laundering. His wife, Oksana Terekhova, is alleged to be a co-conspirator and is referred to as “Co-Conspirator 1” in the indictment. The investigation was “coordinated through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls, and economic countermeasures that the United States . . . has imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.”
In connection with the indictment, the DOJ is requesting both criminal forfeiture of two Beverly Hills condominiums at issue in the indictment, as well as civil forfeiture in a parallel proceeding. If successful, the DOJ would seize both the condominiums and proceeds in an investment and banking account held by Derkach’s alleged business entity. Derkach remains at large.
This appears to be another in the long line of actions and sanctions brought against alleged Russian oligarchs and Russian agents, especially those with close connections to Russian Intelligence Services, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (of which we have blogged about here and here). As long as Russia remains active in Ukraine, it is likely that federal law enforcement will continue to focus on the actions and assets of high-profile Russian oligarchs and agents in the U.S. Financial institutions should continue to remain vigilant, as we have blogged about here, in rooting out attempts to evade sanctions.