WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 30th September, 2022) A US grand jury on Thursday unsealed an indictment charging Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska and three co-defendants with various crimes, of which two co-defendants - in addition to Deripaska - with a conspiracy to violate sanctions imposed on Russia.
"On or about April 6, 2018, the United States government imposed sanctions on Russian citizen Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska ... the defendant, and a company he controlled called 'Basic Element,'" a court document said. "Yet, for over four years afterwards, and in violation of those sanctions, Deripaska continued to retain Olga Shriki and Natalia Mikhaylovna Bardakova ... the defendants, to provide hundreds of thousands of Dollars worth of services for his benefit in the United States."
Shriki is also charged with obstruction of justice because she allegedly deleted electronic records related to her role in Deripaska's sanctions evasion scheme after she was subpoenaed to provide the records to the grand jury, the indictment said. She was arrested earlier on Thursday.
In addition, Bardakova, and the third co-defendant - Ekaterina Voronina - have both been charged with making false statements to FBI and Homeland Security Department agents, respectively, the indictment said.
Voronina is alleged to have been trying to enter the United States to give birth to a child she conceived with Deripaska in order for the child to automatically be granted US citizenship, the indictment said.
It is also alleged that Shriki and Bardakova facilitated Voronina's return to the United States in order to give birth, the indictment also said.
The US Justice Department issued a statement saying Deripaska, Bardakova and Shriki have been charged with one count of conspiring to violate and evade US sanctions and face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if found guilty.
Shriki is also charged with one count of destruction of records and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while Bardakova and Voronina are each charged with one count of making false statements to Federal agents, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
According to the indictment, Deripaska, Bardakova and Shriki must also forfeit the property obtained as a result of the sale of a music studio in California for more than $3 million and expatriated to a Russia-based account allegedly belonging to a Deripaska company.
In October 2021, FBI raided the homes linked to Deripaska in New York and Washington, in search of documents related to Gracetown Inc. The latter is a company that has managed property tax payments since 2013 on a Greenwich Village townhouse linked to the Russian businessman.
The United States introduced sanctions on Deripaska and dozens of other Russian individuals and entities in April 2018 for their alleged ties to the Russian government, which Washington has repeatedly accused of allegedly undertaking "malign activities."