The United States indicted Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, his Russian partner and two others Thursday over a scheme to obtain US citizenship for his two children in violation of US sanctions.
The Justice Department said in the indictment that the aluminum billionaire and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin arranged with the others to help his partner Ekaterina Olegovna Voronina come to the US twice to give birth.
Those acts violated US sanctions set in 2018 against Deripaska because of his close ties to the Russian government and its seizure two years before of the Crimea region from Ukraine.
The Justice Department said that Russia-based Natalia Mikhaylovna Bardakova and US-based Olga Shriki, a naturalized US citizen, helped Deripaska arrange for Voronina to come to the US by private jet on a tourism visa in 2020 and again in 2022 while pregnant to give birth.
The first effort was successful, but in June 2022 Voronina was refused entry.
The two also worked together to manage billionaire Deripaska's properties in the United States and to launder some $3 million from the sale of one of his businesses, a music studio, out of the country, according to the indictment.
PAY ATTENTION: Subscribe to Digital Talk newsletter to receive must-know business stories and succeed BIG!
And at Bardakova's direction, Shriki did other sanctions-violating work for Deripaska, such as sending flowers to Deripaska's personal contacts, including an unnamed television host and a former Canadian member of parliament.
And they did shopping for Deripaska, buying him iPhones and t-shirts from the American Eagle chain.
In addition to violating sanctions, Voronina and Bardakova are charged with making false statements to US officials relating to their connections to Deripaska.
The Justice Department said that Shriki was arrested Thursday, but the three others remain at large.
"Today’s indictment reflects the FBI's commitment to use all of the tools at our disposal to aggressively pursue those who attempt to evade the United States’ economic countermeasures against the Russian government," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.
The indictment came nearly one year after FBI agents raided properties owned by Deripaska and worth millions of dollars in New York and Washington.
Deripaska owns aluminum giant Rusal and has major shareholdings in EN+ Group and power company Eurosibenergo.
In 2018 the Treasury Department said Deripaska is being investigated for money laundering, extortion and racketeering, and is tied to Russian organized crime and murder.