December 9, 2022

US files in rem complaint against proceeds of alleged sanctions violations and money laundering

The United States has initiated in rem proceedings for the seizure of two California condominiums and two investment and bank accounts allegedly owned or controlled by Andrii Derkach and his wife, Oksana Terekhova.  Derkach, a Ukrainian national who formerly represented a pro-Russian political party in the Ukrainian parliament, was designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury on September 10, 2020 for his efforts to influence the 2020 US presidential elections.  According to OFAC, Derkach is an active Russian agent with close ties to Russian intelligence services.  He was designated pursuant to Executive Order 13848.  Subsequently, entities owned or controlled by Derkach including Nabuleaks and Era-Media TOV, were also designated by OFAC.

On September 26, 2022, the United States filed a seven-count indictment against Derkach in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, accusing him of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) in contravention of Executive Order 13848, 50 USC §§ 1701-1708, and its implementing regulation, 31 CFR Part 579.  The indictment also charges Derkach with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from Specified Unlawful Activity.

According to the indictment and forfeiture complaint, Derkach and Terekhova used a web of offshore entities and unknowing participants in the United States to purchase and maintain the two Beverly Hills condominium apartments, and to open and manage investment accounts and bank accounts in the United States while concealing Derkach’s ownership and control of the assets.  On one occasion, for example, when  an investment bank declined to open an account as requested by a US person on behalf of entities ultimately controlled by the couple, Derkach attempted to evade the allegation that he was a politically exposed person by saying he was not that Andrii Derkach.  Altogether, $3.115 million flowed through the investment and bank accounts for the purchase of the condominiums, and since Derkach’s designation in 2020, several hundred thousand dollars from the accounts have been used to maintain the condominiums and pay for the unwitting agent’s services.

The complaint against the in rem defendants claims that they were involved in or traceable to money laundering, bank fraud, and IEEPA violations, in addition to constituting property involved in a concealed source of assets monetary transaction violations. 

In rem complaint | Indictment | DOJ press release