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Enforcement Edge
March 4, 2024

DOJ’s Task Force KleptoCapture Continues To Prosecute Kremlin Enablers

Enforcement Edge: Shining Light on Government Enforcement

It’s been two years since the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) standup of Task Force KleptoCapture, and the U.S. government continues to follow through on its promise to impose serious costs on those who enable the Kremlin’s hostilities in Ukraine. At Enforcement Edge, we have been monitoring the actions of the Task Force from the start as it pursues its mission of enforcing sanctions, export controls, and other economic measures in response to Russia’s military aggression, and last week saw a noteworthy demonstration of the interagency coalition’s capabilities.

On February 22, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced five significant enforcement actions against oligarchs, money launderers, and facilitator networks. The attorney general’s announcement sends a clear message about DOJ’s resolve to target those who facilitate the Russian regime. “The Justice Department is more committed than ever to cutting off the flow of illegal funds that are fueling Putin’s war [in Ukraine] and to holding accountable those who continue to enable it,” said Garland.

Indeed, the five announced KleptoCapture cases demonstrate that the United States continues to use all legal tools in its arsenal to support Ukraine:

  1. In the Southern District of New York, DOJ unsealed charges against U.S.-based Russian facilitators Vadim Belyaev and Gannon Bond following their arrests on February 22, along with charges against sanctioned oligarch Andrey Kostin. The charges allege that Kostin had been laundering funds to support two superyachts and to evade sanctions related to a luxury home in Colorado.
  2. In the Middle District of Florida, federal prosecutors charged Sergey Vitalievich Kurchenko — a sanctioned pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch — with scheming to violate U.S. sanctions by allegedly conducting over US$300 million in business with U.S. persons.
  3. In the Southern District of Florida, the U.S. filed a civil forfeiture complaint against two Miami condominium properties owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Perevalov. The properties allegedly were linked to a conspiracy to transfer and maintain real estate for Perevalov’s benefit. Located at the Bal Harbour Ritz Carlton, these properties are estimated to be worth over US$2 million.
  4. In the Northern District of Georgia, dual-national Feliks Medvedev pleaded guilty to laundering over US$150 million through various bank accounts and shell companies for Russian clients.
  5. And, finally, in the District of Columbia, the government unsealed a superseding criminal indictment against Vladislav Osipov, charging him with bank fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to operate the motor yacht Tango, which DOJ previously has deemed owned by sanctioned oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

DOJ officials also took the opportunity to tout the task force’s accomplishments since its inception. According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, “[o]ver the last two years, our Task Force KleptoCapture has restrained, seized, and obtained judgments to forfeit nearly $700 million in assets from Russian enablers and charged more than 70 individuals for violating international sanctions and export controls levied against Russia.” Monaco reiterated that DOJ “stand[s] firmly with the people of Ukraine.”

We will continue following every move of Task Force KleptoCapture, along with other national security enforcement actions, here on Enforcement Edge. If you have questions, reach out to any of the authors or any of their colleagues in Arnold & Porter’s White Collar Defense & Investigations practice group.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2024 All Rights Reserved. This blog post is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.