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Press Release

Russian National Residing in Sacramento Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Murat Kurashev, 37, a Russian national who resided in Sacramento, was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

“This sentence holds Kurashev accountable for attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization,” said U.S. Attorney Talbert. “Kurashev’s attempts to provide that material support were not isolated. They took place over a substantial period of time and his intent with those financial transfers was clear. We appreciate the court’s thoughtful consideration of this case and its recognition of the seriousness of Kurashev’s offense. Working with our investigative partners, we will continue to vigorously prosecute those who seek to provide material support to terrorist organizations.”

“The FBI’s mission is clear – to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. Anyone who provides support to a terrorist organization is a threat to the safety and security of all Americans, both here and abroad,” said Special Agent in Charge Siddhartha Patel of the FBI Sacramento Field Office. “I am grateful for the tireless dedication of FBI and U.S. Attorney’s personnel who are deeply committed to our partnership and ensuring all cases like these are thoroughly investigated and fairly prosecuted.”

According to court documents, Kurashev attempted to provide financial support to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is designated by the Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist organization that engages in terrorism in Syria. Between July 2020 and February 2021, Kurashev used money transfer services to send approximately $13,000 to two known couriers of an HTS fundraiser. Records obtained from the money transfer services documented multiple transactions from Kurashev to the couriers in Turkey, usually in increments of $1,000. The couriers retrieved the funds often within 24 hours of transfer. Surveillance footage from money transfer businesses captured Kurashev during some of the transactions.

Social media and encrypted mobile messaging discussions between Kurashev and the fundraiser made clear that Kurashev was fully aware of the fundraiser’s violent extremist ideology and participation and work on behalf of HTS. Kurashev stated that he wished he could join the fight in Syria as a mujahideen and regretted that he could only provide financial support. As their conversations showed, Kurashev and the fundraiser believed that providing money in support of the HTS fighters was tantamount to being engaged in violent jihad.

According to court documents, Kurashev followed the fundraiser’s online presence and various social media accounts, which included solicitations for money to purchase military equipment, boots, clothing, firearms, and, in one case, a motorcycle. Forensic analysis of Kurashev’s Apple iCloud account revealed it to be replete with violent extremist content, including a video depicting HTS fighters.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heiko P. Coppola and Trial Attorney Dmitriy Slavin of the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case.

Updated April 29, 2024

National Security