U.S. resident indicted for reportedly aiding sanctioned Russian oligarch

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Federal prosecutors Tuesday unsealed an indictment against Vladimir Voronchenko, a Moscow-born, U.S. permanent resident with ties to New York City and Florida, charging him with financially assisting a Russian oligarch already under American sanctions. Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE

Feb. 7 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors Tuesday unsealed an indictment against a New York man for aiding a Russian oligarch already under U.S. sanctions.

Vladimir Voronchenko helped facilitate over $4 million worth of payments related to four properties in the United States owned by Viktor Vekselberg, according to court documents.

Vekselberg was first sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2014 in relation to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. In 2018, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control declared him a Specially Designated National. The founder of Russian investment firm Renova Group was hit with further sanctions in 2018. Alleging bank fraud, FBI agents helped seize his $90-million yacht in Spain last April.

Voronchenko, who has ties to New York City, Southampton, N.Y., and Fisher Island, Fla., is accused of maintaining the four U.S. properties owned by Vekselberg, and attempting to sell two of them.

Voronchenko reportedly passed himself off as an art collector and art dealer, according to court documents. He allegedly oversaw around $18.5 million spread over 90 payments delivered between 2009 and 2018. The money was used to pay for things such as taxes and upkeep on the properties owned by Vekselberg.

Federal agents served Voronchenko with a grand jury subpoena in Florida in May.

The 70-year-old Moscow native and legal U.S. permanent resident then boarded a flight nine days later, flying from Miami to Dubai. He then flew to Moscow and has not returned to the United States since, failing to appear before the grand jury. He is in contempt of court.

Voronchenko faces several federal charges, including conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. He also faces a charge of conspiring to commit international money laundering and international money laundering. Each of the federal counts carries a separate maximum prison term of 20 years.

The indictment now paves the way for officials to begin forfeiture proceedings related to the properties in question, as well as other assets.

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