February 27, 2024

DOJ announces efforts to seize two Miami condos linked to Russia-related sanctions violations

The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that it was seeking the forfeiture of two Miami condominiums linked to an individual and entity designated under Executive Order 13685 following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea.  According to the DOJ, a civil forfeiture complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to enable the United States to seize two Bal Harbour condominiums worth approximately $2.5 million for their alleged connection with violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctions, and federal money laundering statutes.

According to the complaint, the condominiums were once owned by Victor Peravalov, an individual who was designated by OFAC in 2018 along with his Russia-based construction company VAD, AO and its co-founder Valeri Abramov.  The designations were imposed pursuant to EO 13685 based on allegations that VAD, AO was responsible for the construction of a highway in the Russian-occupied Crimea Region of Ukraine.  As a result of his designation in January 2018, all of Peravalov’s property or interests in property in the United States was blocked and transactions involving his property was prohibited.  However, in spite of his designation, Peravalov allegedly hired an unnamed Miami real estate agent to transfer the two condominiums to an LLC on his behalf, in April 2018, in violation of US sanctions law.  Federal prosecutors further allege that, following the transfer, the real estate agent continued to lease the condominiums and use the proceeds to maintain the properties.

According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, this action reflects the Justice Department’s commitment to cutting off the flow of illegal funds that fuel Russia’s war in Ukraine and targeting enablers of the Kremlin and the Russian military.  The DOJ reported that the forfeiture action was coordinated through the Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force aimed at enforcing sanctions violations and export restrictions along with U.S. allies and partners, that was formed in 2022 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

USAO SDFL Press Release | Complaint