International Trade Enforcement Roundup | December 2022


Active Russian Agent Indicted for Scheme to Violate Sanctions in the United States (DOJ Action)

Those involved. Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian national and – according to the DOJ – an “Active Russian Agent.”

Charges with penalties. Conspiracy to Violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Acts (IEEPA), one of the main authorizing statutes for U.S. sanctions programs; Bank Fraud Conspiracy; Money Laundering Conspiracy; and Money Laundering (maximum of 30 years). What happened? On December 7, DOJ announced it had unsealed a seven-count indictment against Andrii Derkach, who OFAC designated as a Specially Designated National (SDN) for efforts to influence the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. According to the indictment, Andrii Derkach knowingly and actively attempted to evade the sanctions imposed on him, misrepresenting his identity to buy and maintain two Beverly Hills real estate properties. Derkach wired almost $4 million from Latvian and Swiss bank accounts registered to companies in the British Virgin Islands to a “corporate nominee” to buy both properties. The DOJ is seeking forfeiture of both properties and accounts.

Read the indictment here. Read the press release here.

Notably. The indictment marked the first use of new federal criminal forfeiture powers enacted pursuant to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The new enforcement powers allow for the forfeiture of assets where a senior foreign political figure knowingly conceals or falsifies a material fact related to the ownership or control of assets worth more than $1,000,000. Penalties include up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and potential seizure and forfeiture of real estate properties, bank accounts, and other assets.

Russian Military and Intelligence Agencies Procurement Network Indicted (DOJ Action)

Those involved. Yevgeniy Grinin, Aleksey Ippolitov, Boris Livshits, Svetlana Skvortsova, and Vadim Konoshchenok (Russian Nationals); Alexey Brayman and Vadim Yermolenko (U.S. Nationals).

Charges with penalties. Conspiracy to Defraud the United States as to the Enforcement of Export Controls and Economic Sanctions; Conspiracy to Violate the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA); Smuggling; and Failure to Comply with the Automated Export System relating to the transportation of electronics (maximum of 30 years in prison). What happened? On December 13, five Russian nationals and two U.S. nationals were charged with operating a global scheme to (1) procure technology from U.S. companies to transfer to the Russian defense industry and (2) launder money. Ippolitov relayed requests from Russian end users to Grinin and Skvortsova, who were both affiliated with two Moscow-based organizations, Serniya Engineering and Sertal LLC. These two organizations, which OFAC and BIS previously sanctioned, were tasked by the Russian government to procure technologies for Russia’s military supply chain. Grinin and Skvortsova would then work with Livshits, who used a network of New York City shell companies and bank accounts to route shipments and fabricate business records to conceal the true nature of shipments. Konoshchenok, a suspected Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, would then smuggle the products across the Estonian border into Russia. Konoshchenok was apprehended in October with 35 different types of semiconductors, various other dual-use electronics, and U.S.-manufactured ammunition. Brayman and Yermolenko, who fabricated invoices and reshipped items to transshipment points across the globe, were also arrested. The other four individuals remain at large.

Read the press release here.

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