April 10, 2022

Russian oligarch charged with sanctions violations and conspiracy related to hiring of a US television producer

On April 6, 2022, the US Department of Justice announced charges against Russian Oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev for sanctions violations committed following the imposition of sanctions against him in 2014 in connection with Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine.  In 2014, Malofeyev was designated by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control for allegedly financing the promotion of Russian separatism in Crimea and providing financial or material support to the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a separatist organization in Ukraine.  His designation as a Specially Designated National was issued by OFAC pursuant to Executive Order 13660 and Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations, which blocked all of his property or interests in property in the United States, or within the possession or control of a U.S. person, and prohibited him from engaging in transactions and activities with US individuals and entities.

The DOJ reports that Malofeyev has been charged with US sanctions violations and conspiracy in connection with his hiring of US television producer Jack Hanick.  According to the criminal indictment, which was unsealed on April 6, 2022 in the Southern District of New York, Malofeyev employed Hanick from approximately 2013 to 2018 to operate television networks in Russia and Greece and attempt to acquire a television network in Bulgaria on Malofeyev’s behalf.   Malofeyev is also accused of conspiring with Hanick and others to transfer a $10 million investment in a Texas-based bank holding company to a business associate in Greece via a US bank located in Texas in violation of Ukraine-related sanctions regulations.  According to the DOJ, the US also issued a seizure warrant for Malofeyev’s US investment, which was converted in 2016 to cash held in a blocked US bank account.  The DOJ also reports that Malofyev, while believed to be in Russia, remains at large.

Malofeyev’s indictment comes just over a month after the DOJ unsealed an indictment charging Jack Hanick with violating US sanctions and knowingly making false statements in connection with his work for the Russian oligarch.  According to the DOJ, Hanick’s indictment, which was unsealed on March 3, 2022, was the first-ever criminal indictment for a US sanctions violation in connection with Russia’s efforts in 2014 to undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine.

DOJ Press Release | Unsealed Indictment