The US Department of Justice has accused Russian businessman Vladimir Voronchenko, a friend and longtime business partner of billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, of conspiracy to circumvent sanctions and money laundering. This was reported on the website of the department.
Voronchenko participated in a scheme that allowed Vekselberg to keep his real estate in the United States and dispose of it in circumvention of the sanctions imposed on him.
According to the Ministry of Justice, from 2008 to 2017, Vekselberg acquired real estate in the United States through a series of front companies: an apartment and an estate in New York, as well as an apartment and a penthouse in Florida. To manage this property and related financial matters, Voronchenko hired a lawyer. After the imposition of sanctions against Vekselberg, money began to flow into the lawyer’s accounts from a company and a Russian citizen associated with Voronchenko. In total, about four million dollars were transferred from these two accounts.
After the imposition of sanctions in 2018, Voronchenko tried to sell Vekselberg’s apartment and estate in New York. In this case, front companies were used.
In addition to accusations of conspiracy to circumvent sanctions and money laundering, Voronchenko is also accused of contempt of court. A subpoena to give explanations was handed to him in May 2022, but he did not appear in court, but flew from the United States, where he lives, to Dubai and then to Moscow. If found guilty, the businessman could face up to 20 years in prison on each of the first two charges.
Earlier in the United States, a case was opened against Russian businessman Vladislav Osipov and British businessman Richard Masters. The Ministry of Justice believes that they were trying to withdraw from sanctions the Tango yacht, which allegedly belongs to Vekselberg. An order for arrest was issued for Osipov, and Masters was detained in Spain.
Viktor Vekselberg is a Russian oligarch, Forbes estimates his fortune at $5.5 billion. He is considered one of the close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Vekselberg has been under US sanctions since 2018. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US seized Vekselberg’s yacht and private jet.
Vladimir Voronchenko – heads the Link of Times cultural foundation founded by Vekselberg and is the director of the private Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg, created with the funds of this foundation. Part of the museum’s exposition consists of items from the Vekselberg collection.
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