US accuses ‘Russian agent’ of fraud and money laundering

An alleged Russian agent accused of involvement in attempts to interfere in the 2020 US election was charged in the US on fraud and money laundering charges in connection with the purchase of luxury apartments in California.

“This Kremlin accomplice was sanctioned for trying to poison democracy, showing that he was willing and able to exploit the banking system for his illegal purposes.”said Brooklyn federal prosecutor Breon Peace.

According to the American judge, Andreï Derkach hid his identity when he bought two apartments in Beverly Hills on the outskirts of Los Angeles in 2013 for $3.9 million.

He had already been sanctioned by Washington in September 2020 for attempting it “discredit” Joe Biden, then presidential candidate, as part of“foreign interference to try to undermine the presidential election”.

A wealthy and pro-Russian member of the Ukrainian parliament, Andreï Derkach is considered by Washington to be a “active Russian agent”.

Aided by his wife Oksana Terekhova, he is said to have created several fictitious companies and accounts using nominees to hide his identity in the purchase of real estate, used by his family and in particular his daughter, who lived in one of the apartments , according to the indictment.

The Justice Department said it seized the two homes before issuing sanctions against Mr. Derkach in 2020, which included freezing all his assets in the United States.

Seven counts

At the end of 2019, Andreï Derkach met Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, on the front lines of an attempt to prove alleged acts of corruption committed by Joe Biden and his son Hunter in connection with Ukraine.

These claims have since been widely debunked.

Close ties between Andrei Derkach and Russia are well established.

His father was the director of the Security Service of Ukraine, and he went to the Russian Security Ministry’s intelligence training center before joining the Ukrainian Security Service.

In 2020, the US Treasury Department indicated that it “had been an active Russian agent for more than a decade”.

Andrei Derkach, 55, faces seven charges of violating sanctions, bank fraud and money laundering and, if convicted, could face up to 30 years in prison.

The Justice Department said it did not know where Mr. Derkach was.

In June, he was accused by the Ukrainian government of supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

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