The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Thursday unsealed the indicted of four individuals for sanctions evasion, obstruction of justice and making false statements to Homeland Security. Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska faces one count of conspiring to violate sanctions. His partner Ekaterina Voronina faces one count of making false statements to federal agents. Deripaska’s business associate Natalia Bardakova is charged with one count of conspiring to violate santions and one count of making false statements to federal agents. Naturalized New Jersey resident Olga Shriki is charged with one count of conspiring to violate sanctions and one count of destruction of records.
Deripaska was sanctioned by the United States in 2018 for his involvement in Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea. At the time, Deripaska was found to constitute an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” Deripaska owned three luxury properties in the United States through the corporate entity ‘Gracetown Inc.’, in violation of sanctions.
Voronina, Deripaska’s partner, traveled to the United States from Russia so that Voronina’s child could receive birthright U.S. citizenship. Voronina entered the United States and obtained a visa for a purported ten-day tourism visit. She did not disclose her intent to remain for 6 months to give birth to her child. The DOJ also alleged that Voronina conspired to hide Deripaska’ identity as the father of her child by changing the child’s last name after birth. Andrew C. Adams, director of Task Force KleptoCapture commented that “[t]he hypocrisy in seeking comfort and citizenship in the United States, while enjoying the fruits of a ruthless, anti-democratic regime, is striking.”
Bardakova, who operated largely in Russia, directed Shriki to give gifts to Deripaska’s contacts in the United States, including Voronina and a Canadian Parliment member. In 2022, Bardakova and Shriki also attempted to facilitate Voronina’s return to the United States so that she could give birth to her child child with Deripaska. Voronina was denied entry.