Russian Oligarch Charged With Violating United States Sanctions
Konstantin Malofeyev Hired American Citizen Jack Hanick to Work for Malofeyev’s Television Network in Russia and Illegally Transferred $10 Million U.S. Investment to Business Associate
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today the unsealing of a criminal indictment charging a violation of United States sanctions arising from the 2014 Russian undermining of democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine. KONSTANTIN MALOFEYEV is charged with conspiracy to violate United States sanctions and violations of United States sanctions in connection with his hiring of an American citizen, Jack Hanick, to work for him in operating television networks in Russia and Greece and attempting to acquire a television network in Bulgaria. MALOFEYEV also conspired with Hanick and others to illegally transfer a $10 million investment that MALOFEYEV had made in a United States bank to a business associate in Greece, in violation of the sanctions blocking MALOFEYEV’s assets from being transferred. Along with the Indictment, the United States Attorney announced the seizure of MALOFEYEV’s United States investment.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Konstantin Malofeyev is closely tied to Russian aggression in Ukraine, having been determined by OFAC to have been one of the main sources of financing for the promotion of Russia-aligned separatist groups operating in the sovereign nation of Ukraine. The United States sanctions on Malofeyev prohibit him from paying or receiving services from United States citizens, or from conducting transactions with his property in the United States. But as alleged, he systematically flouted those restrictions for years after being sanctioned. The Indictment unsealed today shows this Office’s commitment to the enforcement of laws intended to hamstring those who would use their wealth to undermine fundamental democratic processes. This Office will continue to be a leader in the Justice Department’s work to hold accountable actors who would support flagrant and unjustified acts of war.”
FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said: “Kremlin-linked Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev played a leading role in supporting Russia’s 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine, continues to run a pro-Putin propaganda network, and recently described Russia’s 2022 military invasion of Ukraine as a ‘holy war.’ The FBI works tirelessly to protect our national interests, and we will continue to use all the resources at our disposal to aggressively counter Russia’s malign activity around the world.”
According to the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
In 2014, the President issued Executive Order 13660, which declared a national emergency with respect to the situation in Ukraine. To address this national emergency, the President blocked all property and interest in property that came within the United States or the possession or control of any United States person, of individuals determined by the Secretary of the Treasury to be responsible for or complicit in, or who engaged in, actions or policies that threatened the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, or who materially assist, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to, individuals or entities engaging in such activities. Executive Order 13660, along with certain regulations issued pursuant to it (the “Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations”) prohibits, among other things, making or receiving any funds, goods, or services by, to, from, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked.
On December 19, 2014, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) designated KONSTANTIN MALOFEYEV as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”) pursuant to Executive Order 13660. OFAC’s designation of MALOFEYEV explained that he was one of the main sources of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea, and has materially assisted, sponsored, and provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a separatist organization in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk.
As alleged in the Indictment, MALOFEYEV hired a United States citizen named Jack Hanick in 2013 to work on a new Russian cable television news network (the “Russian TV Network”) that MALOFEYEV was creating. MALOFEYEV negotiated directly with Hanick regarding Hanick’s salary, payment for Hanick’s housing in Moscow, and Hanick’s Russian work visa, and MALOFEYEV paid Hanick through two separate Russian entities through the end of 2018.
After OFAC designated MALOFEYEV as a SDN in December 2014, MALOFEYEV continued to employ Hanick on the Russian TV Network, in violation of the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations. MALOFEYEV also dispatched Hanick to work on a project to establish and run a Greek television network and on efforts to acquire a Bulgarian television network. At MALOFEYEV’s direction, Hanick traveled to Greece and to Bulgaria on multiple occasions in 2015 and 2016 to work on these initiatives, and reported directly back to MALOFEYEV on his work. For instance, in November 2015, Hanick wrote to MALOFEYEV that the Greek television network would be an “opportunity to detail Russia’s point of view on Greek TV.” In connection with MALOFEYEV’s efforts to acquire the Bulgarian television network, MALOFEYEV instructed Hanick to take steps to conceal MALOFEYEV’s role in the acquisition by conducting the negotiations through a Greek associate of MALOFEYEV (the “Greek Business Associate”), so that it would appear the buyer was a Greek national rather than MALOFEYEV.
MALOFEYEV also employed Hanick to assist MALOFEYEV in transferring a $10 million investment in a Texas-based bank holding company (the “Texas Bank”) to the Greek Business Associate in violation of the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations. In 2014, MALOFEYEV had used a shell company to make the investment, and beginning in or about March 2015, MALOFEYEV began making plans to transfer ownership of the shell company to the Greek Business Associate as a means to transfer the investment in the Texas Bank. In or about May 2015, MALOFEYEV’s attorney drafted a Sale and Purchase Agreement that purported to transfer the shell company to the Greek Business Associate in exchange for one U.S. dollar. In June 2015 MALOFEYEV had Hanick physically transport a copy of MALOFEYEV’s certificate of shares in the Texas Bank from Moscow to Athens to be given to the Greek Business Associate. MALOFEYEV signed the Sale and Purchase Agreement in June 2015, but the agreement was fraudulently backdated to July 2014 to make it appear that the transfer had taken place prior to the imposition of United States sanctions. MALOFEYEV’s attorney then falsely represented to the Texas Bank that the transfer had taken place in July 2014, even though MALOFEYEV and his attorney well knew that the transfer of the shell company was executed in June 2015.
Along with the unsealed Indictment, the United States Attorney announced the issuance of a seizure warrant for MALOFEYEV’s Texas Bank investment, which had been converted by the Texas Bank in 2016 to cash held in a blocked United States bank account. The United States recovered those funds pursuant to the warrant and will seek forfeiture of those funds as property that constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the commission of the offenses alleged in the Indictment.
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MALOFEYEV, 47, of Russia, remains at large, and is believed to be in Russia. Each of the two sanctions charges in the Indictment carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thanked the support and expertise of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and Office of International Affairs in the conduct of this matter.
On March 2, 2022, the Attorney General announced the launch of Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed, along with allies and partners, in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. The task force will leverage all the Department’s tools and authorities against efforts to evade or undermine the economic actions taken by the U.S. government in response to Russian military aggression.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thane Rehn, Jessica Greenwood, and Vladislav Vainberg are in charge of the prosecution.
 The entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.