Task Force KleptoCapture Announces Array of New Charges, Arrests, and Forfeiture Proceedings in Advance of … – Department of Justice

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From the outset of Russia’s unprovoked, full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the Department of Justice has prioritized enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed alongside our global partners. Today, the Department continues that work through significant enforcement actions in five separate federal cases against sanctioned oligarchs and facilitator networks supporting the Russian regime.
Today’s actions coincide with the approaching two-year mark of Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. Read more about the Justice Department’s efforts to hold Russia accountable here.
“The Justice Department is more committed than ever to cutting off the flow of illegal funds that are fueling Putin’s war and to holding accountable those who continue to enable it,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “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.”
“Since the onset of Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the Justice Department has used every tool in our arsenal – including our international partnerships – to target the criminal actors and activity propping up Vladimir Putin, his henchmen, and his illegal war,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Over the last two years, our Task Force KleptoCapture has restrained, seized, and obtained judgments to forfeit nearly $700 million in assets from Russian enablers and charged more than 70 individuals for violating international sanctions and export controls levied against Russia. The charges we announce today against oligarchs, facilitators, and money launderers are the next chapter: so long as Russia’s aggression continues, so too will our resolve to hold its enablers accountable. We stand firmly with the people of Ukraine.”
“It has been two years since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the FBI continues to go after the Russian criminals who finance and enable Russia’s war,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “To the people of Ukraine fighting for their freedom: The FBI remains steadfast in our efforts to disrupt and hold accountable the criminals supporting the Russian War, and we will continue to stand with you to fend off Russian aggression for as long as it takes.”
In the Southern District of New York, the Department unsealed charges against three people, including sanctioned oligarch Andrey Kostin and two of his U.S.-based facilitators. The facilitators, Vadim Wolfson, aka Vadim Belyaev and Gannon Bond, were arrested today.
In the Middle District of Florida, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Sergey Vitalievich Kurchenko, a sanctioned pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch, in a years-long scheme to violate and evade U.S. sanctions by receiving funds from and doing approximately $330 million in business with U.S. persons.
In the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta-based dual national Feliks Medvedev pleaded guilty to his role in laundering over $150 million through bank accounts and shell companies on behalf of Russian clients. Separately, on Feb. 13, KSK Group – a sanctioned Russian company which assists Russian citizens with international money movements – and two overseas Russian nationals, including one sanctioned individual, were indicted for money laundering.
In the Southern District of Florida, the United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint against two Miami luxury condominium properties owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Perevalov. The properties are allegedly connected to a conspiracy to maintain and transfer real estate for the benefit of Perevalov. Located at the Ritz Carlton in Bal Harbour, the properties are valued at approximately $2.5 million.
Lastly, in the District of Columbia, a superseding indictment was unsealed today charging Vladislav Osipov with bank fraud in connection with a criminal scheme to facilitate the operation of the Motor Yacht (M/Y) Tango, a 255-foot luxury yacht that the Justice Department has previously stated is owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. 
United States v. Kostin et al., Southern District of New York
Today, the United States unsealed an indictment charging Andrey Kostin, a sanctioned Russian oligarch and the President and Chairman of a Russian state-owned bank with participating in two schemes to violate U.S. sanctions and arrested two U.S.-based co-conspirators for their role in facilitating one of the schemes.
As alleged in the indictment, Kostin participated in a scheme to evade sanctions and launder funds to support two superyachts, collectively worth over $135 million. Kostin and two U.S. persons also allegedly engaged in a scheme to evade sanctions related to a luxury home in Aspen, Colorado. Facilitators Vadim Wolfson, aka Vadim Belyaev, 56, of Austin, Texas, and a legal permanent resident of the United States, and Gannon Bond, 49, a U.S. citizen of Edgewater, New Jersey, were arrested earlier today.
Kostin is a Russian oligarch who was sanctioned by OFAC on April 6, 2018, pursuant to Executive Order 13661 for being an official of the Government of the Russian Federation. From at least on or about April 6, 2018, through at least on or about March 2, 2022, Kostin and others, including at times Wolfson and Bond, allegedly participated in schemes to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), through the provision of funds, goods, and services, including U.S. financial services and U.S. dollar transactions, to and for Kostin’s benefit. The indictment alleges that Kostin also engaged in a scheme to commit money laundering to promote IEEPA violations.
According to the indictment, before and after OFAC sanctioned Kostin, he beneficially owned and controlled, through various shell companies, several assets worth tens of millions of dollars, including two superyachts identified as the Sea Rhapsody and Sea & Us, valued at over $135 million. Kostin and others allegedly violated IEEPA on numerous occasions, including by causing U.S. dollar payments to be made for the maintenance, operation, and improvement of the Sea Rhapsody and Sea & Us for the benefit of Kostin and without an OFAC license, which is required for U.S. persons to transact with a sanctioned person. In causing these U.S. dollar payments to be made, Kostin and others also allegedly committed international money laundering.
The indictment alleges that Kostin also owned a luxury home in Aspen, Colorado, that he purchased for $13.5 million in 2010. From at least on or about April 6, 2018, through at least in or about September 2019, Kostin, Wolfson, Bond, and others participated in a scheme to violate the IEEPA by providing funds, goods, and services for the benefit of Kostin, whose property and interests in property, including the Aspen home, were blocked as a result of the OFAC sanctions against him. Specifically, notwithstanding having been sanctioned by OFAC, Kostin and his conspirators allegedly schemed to operate, maintain, and improve Kostin’s Aspen residence in a manner designed to conceal Kostin’s continued ownership of this luxury asset. In addition, in or about September 2019, Kostin, Wolfson, Bond, and others allegedly committed additional sanctions violations by dealing in and transferring Kostin’s blocked property. Specifically, the conspirators allegedly arranged to sell the Aspen home and provide Kostin with approximately $12 million resulting from the sale.
Kostin, 67, of Russia, remains at large and is believed to be in Russia. KOSTIN is charged with two counts of conspiracy to violate IEEPA, two counts of violating IEEPA, and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering, all of which each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Wolfson is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate IEEPA and two counts of violating IEEPA, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Bond is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate IEEPA and two counts of violating IEEPA, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The FBI’s Washington Field Office is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Deininger and David Felton for the Southern District of New York’s Illicit Finance and Money Laundering Unit, and Trial Attorneys Derek Shugert of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and Oleksandra Johnson of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section are prosecuting the case.
United States v. Kurchenko, Middle District of Florida
Pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch Sergey Vitalievich Kurchenko, 38, currently believed to be living in Moscow, Russia, is charged with violating the IEEPA and U.S. sanctions on Russia in connection with a years-long scheme to do business in the United States, in violation of U.S. sanctions. Kurchenko was sanctioned by OFAC in 2015 for his role in misappropriating state assets of Ukraine or of an economically significant entity in Ukraine.
As alleged, between in or about July 2017 through in or about February 2022, Kurchenko and others used a network of shell companies that Kurchenko owned and controlled to sell metal products – including pig iron, wire rods, and steel billets – to individuals and entities in the United States, including a U.S. company identified as Company A in court documents. The metal products included items produced in factories in the Donbas region of Ukraine that were owned and controlled by Kurchenko. As alleged, Kurchenko committed money laundering by transferring funds into and out of the United States in connection with the scheme and his IEEPA violations.
To facilitate the unlawful transactions described above, Kurchenko allegedly met with U.S.-based purchasers in Moscow to negotiate metal transactions between entities that he owned and controlled and U.S. persons, including Company A and its representatives. As alleged, Kurchenko willfully engaged in transactions involving the sale and shipment of products valued at more than $330 million to individuals and companies in the United States.
Kurchenko is charged with conspiracy to violate the IEEPA and U.S. sanctions against Russia, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The FBI Tampa Field Office, Orlando Resident Agency, and Washington Field Office, International Corruption Unit, are investigating the case, with valuable assistance provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Chauncey Bratt for the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorneys Sean O’Dowd of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Section and Emma Ellenrieder of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.
United States v. Feliks Medvedev and United States v. KSK Group et al., Northern District of Georgia
On Feb. 7, Feliks Medvedev, 42, a Russian citizen residing in Buford, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business in connection with using shell companies to make more than 1,300 financial transfers totaling over $150 million into bank accounts controlled by the defendant.
According to court documents, Medvedev registered eight shell companies in the state of Georgia between July 2019 and July 2020, for which he was the sole agent and signatory on relevant bank accounts. Medvedev’s purported business purposes for these companies included, among others, “computer software wholesaler,” “professional equipment,” and “coal / mineral wholesaler.” Court documents note that these companies did not have any employees, or expenditures for payroll, rent, equipment, or other business-related costs.
As stated in documents filed with the court, throughout the scheme, there were over 1,200 transfers totaling over $150 million into the bank accounts for these companies, which were controlled by Medvedev. Over $150 million was then transferred out of these accounts in over 1,300 transactions. Medvedev retained over $500,000 from the funds transferred into accounts he controlled.
Medvedev pleaded guilty to one count of conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Medvedev is scheduled to be sentenced on May 7.
Relatedly, a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia returned an indictment on Feb. 13, alleging that Alexey Chubarov, 42, of Russia, and Lev Solyannikov, 31, of Russia, and their company KSK Group, conspired with Medvedev in the transfer of these funds and then laundered the illegal proceeds.
According to the indictment, KSK Group is a business consulting firm in Moscow, Russia, and Chubarov and Solyannikov both worked for KSK Group. Chubarov and Solyannikov allegedly informed Medvedev about incoming wires and then directed Medvedev concerning the outgoing transfers he should make, including transferring certain funds to the Singapore Precious Metal Exchange (Exchange) to purchase gold bullion. According to the indictment, Medvedev’s companies transmitted at least $65 million to purchase gold from the Exchange.
On Sept.14, 2023, OFAC added Chubarov and KSK Group to the list of Specially Designated Nationalss and Blocked Persons, pursuant to Executive Order 14024, for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy.
Chubarev and Solyannikov are charged with conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money transmitting business and conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each count; conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; and money laundering which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, which carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison.
The FBI’s Atlanta Field Office is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Huber, Norman L. Barnett, and Sekret T. Sneed for the Northern District of Georgia are prosecuting the case.
Forfeiture of Real Properties Belonging to Viktor Perevalov, Southern District of Florida
Today, the United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint in the Southern District of Florida alleging that two Bal Harbour condominiums are subject to forfeiture based on violations of IEEPA, OFAC sanctions, and federal money laundering statutes.
As alleged in the complaint, Viktor Perevalov and Valeri Abramov were co-founders of VAD, AO, a Russia-based construction company responsible for constructing the Tavrida Highway in the Russian-occupied Crimea region of Ukraine. On Jan. 26, 2018, pursuant to Executive Order 13685, OFAC sanctioned Victor Perevalov, Valeri Abramov, VAD, AO, and others following the Russian invasion of Crimea, effectively blocking all of their property or interests in property in the United States from being transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.
According to the complaint, soon after the sanctions, R.S., a Miami real estate agent retained to manage the properties, worked to transfer the two condominiums owned by Perevalov, Units 1616 and 1617 located at 10295 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour, Florida, 33154 (the Defendant Properties) to an LLC in violation of the sanctions. The Defendant Properties have a combined value of approximately $2.5 million. On April 10, 2018, R.S. and others, including a law firm, formed 1616 Collins LLC., and named R.P., a Perevalov family member who was a minor at the time, the entity’s purported sole beneficial owner. On June 14, 2018, the title of the Defendant Properties was transferred to 1616 Collins LLC in violation of the sanctions. R.S. served as Perevalov’s power of attorney for the transfer. After the transfer, R.S. continued to lease the Defendant Properties, collected proceeds derived from the Defendant Properties, and used those proceeds to maintain the Defendant Properties including by making property tax payments.
FBI’s Miami Field Office is investigating the case with support from the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marx P. Calderón and Eli Rubin for the Southern District of Florida, Trial Attorneys Sinan Kalayoglu and Lindsay Gorman of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, and Trial Attorney Joshua E. Kurland of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting this civil action.
United States v. Osipov, District of Columbia
A superseding indictment, unsealed today, charges Vladislav Osipov, 52, a Russian national who resides in Switzerland, with five new counts of bank fraud in connection with the operation of a 255-foot luxury superyacht that the Department has stated is owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.
The indictment states that Vekselberg’s luxury superyacht is the Tango, which was registered in the Cook Islands. The Tango was the first superyacht belonging to a sanctioned individual with close ties to the Russian regime to be seized at the request of the U.S. government following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Osipov remains at large. Today, the U.S. State Department offered a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction. Previously indicted in November 2022, Osipov is now charged with 17 counts for crimes including bank fraud, punishable by up to 30 years in prison; violating U.S. sanctions punishable by up to 20 years in prison; conspiring to defraud the United States, punishable by up to five years in prison; and money laundering, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office is investigating the case, with valuable assistance provided by the Spanish Ministry of Justice and the Spanish Guardia Civil.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen P. Seifert and Maeghan Mikorski for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Chris M. Cook of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by Paralegals Brian Rickers and Jorge Casillas, and Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick.
* * *
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in all of these cases.
These cases were coordinated through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, has imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. Announced by the Attorney General on March 2, 2022, and under the leadership of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the task force will continue to leverage all of the department’s tools and authorities to combat efforts to evade or undermine the collective actions taken by the U.S. government in response to Russian military aggression.
An indictment and a criminal complaint are merely allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. A civil forfeiture complaint is merely an allegation that money or property was involved in or represents the proceeds of a crime. These allegations are not proven until a court awards a judgment in favor of the United States.
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