New York State In-depth

The man who is Putin’s ally in Ukraine is a net British man indictment

An U.K. national was arrested today in connection with a conspiracy to break U.S. sanctions imposed on Russian Oligarch Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska and wire fraud in connection with the funding of U.S. properties purchased by Deripaska and efforts to expatriate his artwork to his native United States through misrepresentations. It is believed that the U.S. government will seek his extradition to the United States. Deripaska was previously indicted for U.S. sanctions violations in an indictment unsealed on September. 29.

In 2014, the President in 2014, the President issued Executive Order 13660, which declared a national emergency with regards to the current situation in Ukraine. In order to address the national emergency the President halted the property of those who were determined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to be responsible or complicit in actions or policies which threaten the sovereignty, security or integrity territorial of Ukraine, or who materially assist, sponsor or support people or entities engaged in such actions. Executive Order 13660 as well as the regulations issued pursuant to it prohibit the transfer or receipt of funds, goods or services, to, from or in the name of any person identified as such by the U.S. Treasury.

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On April 6 in 2018 on April 6, 2018, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) declared Deripaska as a Specially Designed National (SDN), as a result of its conclusion that the actions taken by the Government of the Russian Federation with regard to Ukraine constitute an unusual and significant danger for U.S. national security and foreign policy (the OFAC Sanctions). As per the U.S. Treasury, Deripaska was sanctioned because he acted or purported to act on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a high official of or on behalf of a senior official in the Government of the Russian Federation as well as for working within the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.

According to court documents, Graham Bonham-Carter 62, from the United Kingdom, worked for companies controlled by Deripaska starting in July 2003 to the current. In addition Bonham-Carter was responsible for managing Deripaska’s residence properties throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and Europe, including a home located in Belgravia Square, London. Even after OFAC declared Deripaska, Bonham-Carter continued to be employed by Deripaska and even refer the name of Deripaska as his “boss.” For example, in an email dated on or about June 18, 2018 Bonham-Carter wrote: “Times a bit tough for my boss as sanctions have hit him from the USA so not an ideal time.” In an email sent on or about Oct. 13, 2021 Bonham-Carter wrote “It[‘]s everything is fine, apart from banks keep shutting me down because of my affiliation to Oleg Deripaska, my manager. Oleg Deripaska …. I have even been advised not to travel to the USA where Oleg still has personal sanctions as the authorities will undoubtedly pull me to one side and ask me questions that could last hours or even days! !”

As alleged in the indictment, following Deripaska’s appointment, Bonham-Carter was involved in more than $1 million worth of illegal transactions to finance real estate properties located in the United States for Deripaska’s benefit. Between in or about 2005 and in or about in or around 2008 Deripaska bought three properties for residential use located in the United States, two in New York City and one located in Washington, D.C. (the U.S. Properties). The properties were administered by a firm called Gracetown Inc. After OFAC was able to impose sanctions on Deripaska in or around April 6, the 6th of April, Gracetown Inc. continued to manage the properties Deripaska’s benefit. After Deripaska’s denial, Deripaska instructed Bonham-Carter to create a new company for the management of the properties owned by Deripaska. On or about May 25 in 2018, Bonham-Carter stated in an email that “OVD [i.e., Deripaska] wants me to set up my own company to run the [Belgravia Square] house and to possibly include Japan, Italy, China and more.” In less than two months later, on or about July 17th, 2018, Bonham-Carter incorporated GBCM Limited.

Between March 2021 until about the end of December 2021 while working under Deripaska’s supervision, Bonham-Carter transmitted payments for the upkeep of the U.S. Properties. Bonham-Carter transferred payments of $1,043,964.30 from an account at a bank in Russia that was in the name of GBCM Limited, to bank accounts controlled through Gracetown Inc. in New York City. Gracetown Inc. used the money from GBCM Limited to pay for various expenses associated with its U.S. Properties, including staff salaries, property taxes, and other services, and to maintain and keep up their U.S. Properties.

As alleged, Bonham-Carter also attempted to unlawfully transfer artwork bought through Deripaska at an auction that was located in New York City to London by omitting the ownership of Deripaska of the work. In May 2021, after being the auction house was informed that it had reason to believe that the work was owned by Deripaska, Bonham-Carter falsely stated that the work of art and the payment of $12,146 which Bonham-Carter had made to ship the Artwork are not the property of Deripaska. In reality, as Bonham-Carter was aware, Deripaska had purchased the artwork and it was his property, and the money used to purchase shipping would be invoiced to Deripaska.

Bonham-Carter is charged in a three-count indictment , including one count of conspiring to break and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and one count of violating IEEPA as well as one charge of wire fraud. Each of the is punishable by a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment. An federal judge in a district court will make any sentence after considering the U.S. Guidelines for Sentencing and other legal factors.

Task Force KleptoCapture Director Andrew C. Adams, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York and Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division made the announcement.

The FBI New York Field Office and Counterintelligence Division are investigating the case, with valuable assistance provided by the Justice Department’s National Security Division Counterintelligence and Export Control Section as well as the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. In addition, the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom provided substantial assistance.

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