US charges Russian tycoon with sanctions violations

The United States on Thursday indicted Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, his Russian partner and two others for trying to give his two children US citizenship in violation of US sanctions.

The Justice Department said in the indictment that the aluminum billionaire and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed with the others to help his partner Ekaterina Olegovna Voronina come to the United States twice to give birth.

These actions violated US sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018 for his close ties to the Russian government and Ukraine’s seizure of the Crimea region two years earlier.

The Justice Department said that Russia-based Natalia Mikhaylovna Bardakova and US-based Olga Shriki, a naturalized US citizen, helped Deripaska arrange Voronina to come to the United States on a tourist visa in 2020 and again in 2022 while pregnant USA comes birth.

The first attempt was successful, but in June 2022, Voronina was denied entry.

The two also worked together to manage billionaire Deripaska’s real estate in the United States and laundered about $3 million from the sale of one of his businesses, a music studio, outside the country, according to the indictment.

And at Bardakova’s direction, Shriki did other sanctions-violating work for Deripaska, such as sending flowers to personal contacts of Deripaska, including an unnamed TV host and a former Canadian MP.

And they shopped for Deripaska, bought him iPhones and T-shirts from the American Eagle chain.

In addition to violating sanctions, Voronina and Bardakova face allegations of misrepresenting their ties to Deripaska to US officials.

The Justice Department said Shriki was arrested Thursday but the other three remain at large.

“Today’s indictment reflects the FBI’s commitment to using every tool at our disposal to aggressively pursue those who attempt to evade the United States’ economic countermeasures against the Russian government,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in an explanation.

The indictment came nearly a year after FBI agents raided properties in New York and Washington owned by Deripaska and worth millions of dollars.

Deripaska owns aluminum giant Rusal and holds significant stakes in EN+ Group and energy company Eurosibenergo.

In 2018, the Ministry of Finance said Deripaska was under investigation for money laundering, racketeering and racketeering and linked to organized crime and murder in Russia.