Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska

U.K. Businessman Who Worked For Russian Oligarch Arrested For Alleged Sanctions Violations

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A British businessman has been arrested on charges that he helped Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska violate U.S. sanctions, the U.S. Justice Department said on October 11.

The businessman, Graham Bonham-Carter, 62, was arrested on October 11 in the United Kingdom, and federal prosecutors in New York City say they will seek his extradition.

Deripaska, founder of aluminum giant Rusal, was blacklisted by Washington in 2018 in connection with Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Prosecutors said Bonham-Carter made transactions valued at more than $1 million to fund real estate in the United States belonging to Deripaska, 54, who purchased the properties — two in New York City and one in Washington — more than 10 years before he was designated for sanctions.

“Bonham-Carter obscured the origin of funding for upkeep and management of Deripaska’s lavish U.S. assets in violation of the international sanctions,” said federal prosecutor Damian Williams in a statement issued by the Justice Department.

Prosecutors said Bonham-Carter has worked for entities controlled by Deripaska since around 2003 and also managed his residential properties in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The Justice Department says Bonham-Carter also is accused of trying to move Deripaska’s artwork out of New York to London by lying about Deripaska’s ownership of the artwork.

Each of the three counts Bonham-Carter is charged with carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

A lawyer for Bonham-Carter did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to Reuters.

The charges come as the Justice Department pressures Russian oligarchs through sanctions, asset seizures, and criminal probes to stop backing Vladimir Putin after the Russian president launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The head of New York’s FBI office said international investigative agencies that assisted in the arrest of Bonham-Carter “are strategically focused on stopping the Russian oligarchs and their criminal kleptocracy.”

Michael J. Driscoll said each new action by international authorities exposes “the vast network of individuals willing to work with Russian oligarchs who brazenly break our laws and abuse our financial systems.”

The Justice Department last month charged Deripaska with violating sanctions by using the U.S. financial system to maintain luxury properties, employing a woman to buy a California music studio on his behalf, and by trying to have his girlfriend travel to the United States to bear his children.

Deripaska’s business empire flourished during Putin’s first two terms in office from 2000-08 as he snapped up businesses in various industries. According to Forbes magazine, he is worth $2.8 billion.

With reporting by Reuters and AP

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