A Russian oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin was charged Thursday with violating US sanctions — including through a scheme to ensure his girlfriend gave birth to their child on American soil.
Billionaire Oleg Deripaska, 52, allegedly conspired with three women to skirt economic sanctions, including one from New Jersey who arranged the $3 million sale of a California music studio on his behalf, according to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
Prosecutors said Deripaska used shell companies to advance his business interests, and also conspired to have his Russian gal pal flown secretly into the US so their baby could be born in America.
Deripaska, the founder of aluminum giant Rusal, has faced sanctions since 2018 when he and some two dozen other Russian oligarchs and government officials were blacklisted by the US Treasury Department for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“As today’s charges reveal while serving the Russian state and energy sector, Oleg Deripaska sought to circumvent US sanctions through lies and deceit to cash in on and benefit from the American way of life,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement Thursday.
“But shell companies and webs of lies will not shield Deripaska and his cronies from American law enforcement, nor will they protect others who support the Putin regime.”
According to the indictment, Deripaska enlisted 45-year-old Russian national Natalia Bardakova and New Jersey resident Olga Shriki, 42, to sneak his girlfriend, 33-year-old Ekaterina Voronina, into the country in 2020 for the birth of their first child.
The feds said Deripaska “orchestrated” the payment of about $300,000 in health care and housing costs for Voronina to have the baby.
Deripaska also allegedly continued to conduct business despite the sanctions against his private investment firm, Basic Element Limited, including for the 2019 sale of the California studio.
Of the four charged in the indictment, only Shriki was in custody Thursday. Her lawyer declined to comment.
“The indictment unsealed today signals the United States’ ongoing support for the people of Ukraine in the face of continued Russian belligerence,” US attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement.
“The enforcement of sanctions is a vital tool wielded by this office and our law enforcement partners as we seek to deter Russian aggression, and today’s indictment should be taken as a warning that, try as they might, individuals violating these sanctions will be held accountable,” Williams said.
With Post wires
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