June 26, 2023

OFAC sanctions two Russian intelligence officers for attempting to interfere in local US elections

On June 23, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Ygor Sergeyevich Popov and Aleksei Borisovich Sukhodolov, two Russian intelligence officers recently indicted by the Department of Justice for their efforts to conduct global malign influence operations, including attempts to interfere in local US elections.  Both designees are Russian Federal Security Service (“FSB”) officers who were indicted by the DOJ in April 2023 for their direct involvement with Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov and Natalya Valeryevna Burlinova, two FSB co-optees who were previously designated in July 2022 pursuant to Executive Order 14024 for acting on behalf of the Government of Russia.  Co-optees are individuals recruited by Russian intelligence services that are leveraged to sow discord within their own and other countries.

According to OFAC, Popov served as Ionov’s primary handler to gather information on Ionov’s malign influence activities in the US and elsewhere.  Popov also reportedly had frequent communications with Burlinvoa to provide her with gathered information related to her activities.  Ionov allegedly worked with six US co-conspirators, including two who ran as candidates in local elections, to gather information regarding the activities of several US political groups.    Between 2015 and 2022, Popov also allegedly helped Burlinova with her travels to the US and provided her with a list of US citizens to approach, and information on how to interact with them.

According to OFAC, Sukhodolov served as Popov’s FSB 2nd Service unit chief and also worked with Ionov in foreign malign influence operations around the world, including the US, Ukraine, Spain, the UK and Ireland.  Sukhodolov was also allegedly given detailed information regarding the activities of several US political groups that was obtained by Ionov, including reports of Ionov’s consulting role in a local US election.  In late 2021, Sukhodolov also allegedly helped draft and submit grant applications with a Russia-based institution on behalf of several FSB co-optees, including Ionov and Burlinova.

Popov and Sukhodolov have been designated by OFAC pursuant to EO 14024 for having acted or purported to act on behalf of the Government of Russia.  As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of these designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.  In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

Department of Treasury Press Release