US charges Russian oligarchs to mark Ukraine invasion anniversary

US charges Russian oligarchs to mark Ukraine invasion anniversary

/ 05:38 AM February 24, 2024

Alley of Heroes where Ukrainian soldiers who died in the Russian-Ukrainian warare buried

REMEMBERING HEROES An elderly woman walks among the graves along the Alley of Heroes where Ukrainian soldiers who died in the Russian-Ukrainian war are buried, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, on Feb. 22 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For the Ukrainian troops holding Russian forces from cities like Kostyantynivka, the task is becoming harder as their resources and stamina fall lower and lower. AFP

WASHINGTON—The United States unsealed charges on Thursday against Russian oligarchs to mark the upcoming second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The Justice Department is more committed than ever to cutting off the flow of illegal funds that are fueling (Vladimir) Putin’s war and to holding accountable those who continue to enable it,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.


“That is why today we are announcing several additional enforcement actions that the Justice Department has taken to bring prosecutions against and seize assets of sanctioned enablers of the Kremlin and Russian military,” Garland said in a statement.


Evading sanctions

Andrey Kostin, the chair of a Russian state-owned bank, was charged in a New York court with participating in a scheme to evade sanctions and launder funds to support two superyachts, the Sea Rhapsody and Sea & Us, collectively worth over $135 million, the Department of Justice said.

Kostin, who has been subject to US sanctions since 2018, was also accused of involvement in a scheme to evade sanctions related to a luxury home in Aspen, Colorado, that he purchased in 2010 for $13.5 million, it said.

Money laundering

Two US nationals were arrested on Thursday and accused of aiding Kostin, 67, who is believed to be in Russia.

The Department of Justice also announced the indictment of Sergey Vitalievich Kurchenko, 38, a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch who is also currently believed to be living in Russia.

Kurchenko, who has been subject to US sanctions since 2015 for allegedly misappropriating Ukraine state assets, was accused of money laundering and using shell companies to sell metal products worth more than $330 million in the United States.


The Department of Justice also unveiled a superseding indictment against Vladislav Osipov, 52, and offered a $1-million reward for the arrest of the Russian who is believed to live in Switzerland.


Osipov, who was indicted previously in November 2022 for violating US sanctions, was charged with five new counts of bank fraud in connection with the operation of the Tango, a 255-foot luxury superyacht owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

The Tango was seized at the request of the US government following Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine.

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Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the operation targeting “enablers” of Russia’s war in Ukraine has resulted in the “restraint, seizure and forfeiture of nearly $700 million in assets,” and the arrests of more than 70 individuals for violating sanctions and export controls.

TAGS: Russia, Ukraine, US, War

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