- BBC News World
The US Department of Justice has indicted five Russian nationals and two Venezuelan oil traders in the Eastern District of New York for their alleged involvement in a global sanctions busting and money laundering ring.
“The defendants were criminal enablers for the oligarchs, orchestrating a complex scheme to illegally obtain U.S. military technology and Venezuelan oil sanctioned by myriad transactions involving shell companies and cryptocurrencies,” U.S. Attorney Breon said. Peace.
“Their efforts have undermined security, economic stability and the rule of law around the world,” he added.
According to the indictment unveiled on Wednesday, the Russian nationals who were captured in different cities in Europe are: Yury Orekhov, 42; Artem Uss, 40; Svetlana Kuzurgasheva aka Lana Neumann, 32; Timofey Telegin, 39; and Sergey Tulyakov, 52.
Orekhov and Kuzurgasheva allegedly used a front company called Nord-Deutsche Industrieanlagenbau GmbH (NDA GmbH) to “obtain and purchase sensitive, dual-use military technologies from US manufacturers, including advanced semiconductors and microprocessors used in military aircraft. fighters, missile systems, smart munitions, radars, satellites and other military applications of space systems”.
These items were shipped to various recipients in Russia, including sanctioned companies controlled by Telegin and Tulyakov that provided services to the Russian military.
According to the US government, Orekhov traveled to the United States in 2019 to obtain parts used in the Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jet and the US-made F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet.
Artem Uss, on the other hand, is the son of the governor of the Russian region of Krasnoyarsk Krai and is said to be a co-owner of NDA GmbH.
Orekhov and Uss are also accused of using NDA GmbH to smuggle hundreds of millions of barrels of oil from Venezuela to Russian and Chinese buyers, “including a Russian aluminum company controlled by a sanctioned oligarch and the most world’s largest oil, gas and petrochemicals refining conglomerate.
As for the other two defendants, they are Juan Fernando Serrano Ponce, alias Juanfe Serrano, and Juan Carlos Soto, who allegedly negotiated illicit oil contracts for Petróleos de Venezuela SA (Pdvsa), the Venezuelan state oil company, within the framework of the illegal network.
Serrano and Soto allegedly brokered multimillion-dollar contracts between Pdvsa and NDA GmbH, which were routed through a complex web of shell companies and bank accounts to conceal the transactions.
The indictment states that Orekhov, in communication with Serrano, openly admitted that he was acting on behalf of a sanctioned Russian oligarch, stating: “He [l’oligarque] is also under sanctions. That is why [nous] let’s act from this society [NDA GmbH]. As a facade.
Payment for NDA GmbH’s illicit activities was often made in US dollars sent through US financial institutions and correspondent bank accounts.
To facilitate these transactions, Orekhov and his accomplices used shell companies, falsified “know your customer” documents and bank accounts in high-risk jurisdictions, leading US banks to process tens of millions of dollars in violation of U.S. sanctions and other criminal laws,” the indictment reads.
“The scheme also used bulk cash shipments with couriers in Russia and Latin America, as well as multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency transfers, to complete these transactions and launder the proceeds.”
The defendants are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Orekhov, Uss, Kuzurgasheva, Serrano Ponce and Soto are also charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, bank fraud and money laundering to smuggle oil .
Orekhov, Kuzurgasheva, Telegin and Tulyakov, meanwhile, are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to illegally acquire US dual-use technology, conspiracy to violate the Export Control Reform Act and smuggle goods from the United States.
The FBI is investigating the case and its director, Christopher Wray, said, “Together with our U.S. and international partners, [le FBI] will continue to aggressively disrupt the supply of oil, money laundering and military technology illegally obtained from US companies to support Russia in the war against Ukraine.”