Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev has been charged by U.S. authorities for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions.
Malofeyev, 47, was charged in an indictment unsealed on April 6 with conspiracy to violate the sanctions and actual violations of the sanctions.
Charging documents say Malofeyev hired Jack Hanick, an American citizen, to operate television networks in Russia and Greece for him.
Hanick is also said to have tried to acquire another network in Bulgaria on the oligarch’s behalf.
In one message included in a filing, Hanick told Malofeyev that he traveled to Russia in 2013 “to work for you.” Hanick was paid a salary, a $5,000 monthly housing stipend, and health insurance. He moved from Russia to Greece in 2015.
According to court papers, Malofeyev conspired with Hanick and others to illegally transfer $10 million in investments that the oligarch made in a Texas-based bank holding company to a business partner in Greece, in violation of sanctions against Malofeyev’s assets.
The alleged scheme saw Malofeyev invest using a shell company and transfer ownership of the company to the Greek partner, with Hanick in 2015 carrying a copy of the certificate of shares to the Greek associate before Malofeyev’s attorney falsely represented to the bank that the transfer had actually taken place before the sanctions were imposed.
The sanctions were imposed in 2014 because, according to American officials, Malofeyev was a primary source of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea, an area Russia seized during the Obama administration from Ukraine.
“The United States sanctions on Malofeyev prohibit him from paying or receiving services from United States citizens, or from conducting transactions with his property in the United States. But as alleged, he systematically flouted those restrictions for years after being sanctioned,” Damiam Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
“The allegations in this case go back many years showing just how much effort the FBI and its partners put into investigating these crimes,” added Alan Kohler Jr., an FBI counterintelligence official.
Neither Malofeyev nor Hanick had attorneys listed on the court docket.
U.S. officials said they seized millions of dollars from an account at a U.S. bank that is linked to the sanctions violations.
Malofeyev faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the two charges. He is at large.
Hanick was charged in November 2021, with the indictment being unsealed in March.
Hanick was arrested on Feb. 3 in London. U.S. authorities hope to extradite him to the United States.
Hanick “knowingly chose to help Malofeyev spread his destabilizing messages by establishing, or attempting to establish, TV networks in Russia, Bulgaria, and Greece, in violation of” sanctions, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said in a previous statement.