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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Oregon Man Charged with Operating Illegal Money Transmitting Business That Moved More Than $172 Million Through Shell Corporations in the United States

Victor Kaganov, who emigrated from Russia and set up numerous shell corporations in Oregon on behalf of Russian clients, was arrested today on charges of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Dwight C. Holton for the District of Oregon. The shell corporations allegedly were used to move more than $172 million into the United States and out to more than 50 countries.

Kaganov, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Tigard, Ore., was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business after more than 4,200 wire transactions had been made. The defendant appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald C. Ashmankas in the District of Oregon.

The indictment alleges that Kaganov emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1998. In order to move money in and out of the United States, Kaganov allegedly created various shell corporations under Oregon law, and then opened bank accounts, including accounts at Wells Fargo, Key Bank, Bank of America and Bank of the West, which he used to deposit money he received from his Russian clients. Kaganov allegedly would then wire the money out of the accounts based on wire instructions he received from his clients.

The indictment also alleges that Kaganov did not comply with Oregon laws requiring him to obtain a license to operate the money transmitting business and that Kaganov failed to register his money transmitting operation with the U.S. Department of Treasury, as required by federal statutes and regulations.

The charged count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release following the prison term.

In January 2009, a federal grand jury indicted Marina Chernova, Vadim Piskunov and Maria Ivanov on charges of mail and wire fraud. Chernova and Piskunov were also charged with aggravated identity theft. Each of these indictments alleges that the defendants established Oregon shell corporations to facilitate and disguise illegal activities. These cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney and Senior Litigation Counsel Allan M. Garten for the District of Oregon and Trial Attorney Robert Livermore of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.

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