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US prosecutors seek seizure of New York, Florida properties owned by Russian oligarch

Federal prosecutors are seeking to seize six New York and Florida properties owned by a Russian oligarch, the Department of Justice announced on Friday.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a complaint seeking the seizure of two apartments on Park Avenue in New York City, a house in Southampton, N.Y., and two apartments and a penthouse in Miami Beach owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, alleging that they were involved in sanctions evasion and money laundering.

Vekselberg reportedly acquired the luxury real estate properties through shell companies between 2008 and 2017. 

The Russian oligarch, however, was placed on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List in 2018 — which blocked his assets and prevented him from conducting business with American citizens and companies. He was re-designated in March 2022.

Vladimir Voronchenko, a fellow Russian national who was indicted earlier this month, conducted business for Vekselberg in the U.S. both before and after his 2018 designation, in violation of the sanctions regime, according to the complaint. Voronchenko facilitated the transfer of at least $4 million to maintain Vekselberg’s properties.

The complaint was filed on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a point that the Justice Department emphasized in Friday’s announcement.

“Over the past year, the Ukrainian people have shown the world what courage looks like,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “For as long as it takes, the Department of Justice will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Ukrainian and international partners in defense of justice and the rule of law.”

Source: The Hill

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