1 of 2 | An American and two Russian citizens, including billionaire industrialist Ole Deripaska (pictured), were charged with allegedly violating American sanctions imposed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Justice Department said Thursday. File Photo by Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 29 (UPI) -- An American and two Russian citizens, including a billionaire industrialist, were charged with allegedly violating American sanctions imposed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Justice Department said Thursday.
Oleg Deripaska, known as Oleg Mukhamedshin, and Natalia Bardakova, are charged with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska and one the Russian oligarch's businesses, Basic Element Limited, court documents unsealed on Thursday show.
Olga Shriki, New Jersey resident and naturalized U.S. citizen, faces the same charge, as well as an obstruction of justice charge for deleting electronic records related to helping Deripaska evade sanctions.
Bardakova, 45, also faces one count of making false statements to the FBI.
Both women are accused of helping Deripaska's girlfriend Ekaterina Voronina attempt to enter the United States illegally to give birth to the couple's second child. Voronina, 33, was denied entry and is also charged with making a false statement.
Shriki, 42, was arrested Thursday morning.
Deripaska, 52, was sanctioned in 2018 by the U.S. Treasury Department. Court documents allege he then "conspired with others to evade and to violate those sanctions in various ways and over the course of several years."
At the time, the Treasury Department labeled him a Specially Designated National. It declared him a "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."
The DOJ said Derispka has close ties to the Kremlin.
He was sanctioned for having acted on behalf of a senior Russian government official.
Even after that designation, Deripaska "conspired with others to evade and to violate those sanctions in various ways and over the course of several years and...illegally utilized the U.S. financial system to maintain and retain three luxury properties in the United States," according to the DOJ.
At Deripaska's direction, Shriki attempted to expatriate over $3 million in proceeds through a shell company to a Russia-based account belonging to another Deripaska company.
Deripaska, Bardakova and Shriki, each face a maximum 20-year prison sentence for conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions. Shriki faces another 20 years incarceration for destroying the electronic records.
"In the wake of Russia's unjust and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, I promised the American people that the Justice Department would work to hold accountable those who break our laws and threaten our national security. Today's charges demonstrate we are keeping that promise," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
He added: "The Justice Department will not stop working to identify, find, and bring to justice those who evade U.S. sanctions in order to enable the Russian regime."