Sun, 10 Dec 2023

WASHINGTON D.C.: U.S. prosecutors have announced the filing of criminal charges against Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska for violating sanctions imposed after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Three women, Ekaterina Voronina, Natalia Bardakova and Olga Shriki, were also charged in the indictment against Deripaska.

The 54-year-old founder of aluminum giant Rusal, Deripaska was one of the Russian oligarchs and government officials blacklisted by Washington in 2018 for Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Deripaska used the U.S. financial system to maintain three luxury properties, and employed a woman to buy a California music studio on his behalf.

Prosecutors said Deripaska also violated sanctions by having his girlfriend travel to the U.S. from Russia to give birth to his children.

"In the wake of Russia's unjust and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, I promised the American people that the Justice Department would work to hold accountable those who break our laws and threaten our national security. Today's charges demonstrate we are keeping that promise," said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, in a statement.

Through his stake in its parent company, En+ Group, Deripaska still owns part of Rusal. Both companies were previously sanctioned by Washington, but are no longer on the list.

According to the indictment, Shriki arranged a $3.1 million sale of a Burbank, California music studio in 2019 for Deripaska.

The indictment also revealed Voronina's efforts to rent a home in Beverly Hills, California.

Deripaska, Shriki and Bardakova were charged with violating sanctions.

Bardakova and Voronina were also charged with making false statements to U.S. investigators, while Shriki was charged with destroying evidence.

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