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Konstantin Malofeyev: US Department of Justice unveils charges against Russian oligarch for violations of sanctions

“As the indictment charges, the Treasury Department previously identified Malofeyev as one of the main sources of funding for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea and for providing material support to the so-called People’s Republic. from Donetsk,” Garland said. “After being sanctioned by the United States, Malofeyev attempted to evade sanctions by using co-conspirators to surreptitiously acquire and run media outlets across Europe.”

Garland touted the new indictment among several actions the Justice Department has taken against the Russian regime at a press conference Wednesday. He also announced that a botnet controlled by the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU had been taken down.

In addition, the Department of Justice assists in the collection of evidence for potential war crimes prosecutions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I personally spoke with our chief justice department prosecutor in Paris who was meeting with a French war crimes prosecutor,” Garland said. “The day before, the prosecutors of the criminal division met with the prosecutors of Eurojust and Europol to work out a plan of collection of evidence concerning Ukraine. And at the same time, the United States, at the request of the Ukrainian prosecutor , assist in gathering information about atrocities committed in Ukraine.

Garland noted the “horrifying images” that came out of Ukraine recently.

“The world sees what is happening in Ukraine. The Ministry of Justice sees what is happening in Ukraine. This department has a long history of helping to bring to account those who commit war crimes,” said- he declared.

Garland says department sends ‘message’ to Russian regime enablers

The charges against Malofeyev were filed in the Southern District of New York and were the Justice Department’s first criminal charges against a Russian oligarch since Russia invaded Ukraine, Monaco said at the press conference. . In a press release unveiling the indictment, FBI Deputy Director Michael Driscoll accused Malofeyev of playing “a leading role in supporting the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014,” and said Malofeyev “continues to run a pro-Putin propaganda network, and recently described the Russian military’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine as a “holy war.”

In addition to the sanctions violation charges, the department said it seized Malofeyev’s funds held in a US bank account. The new indictment links Malofeyev to a US television producer whom the Department has previously charged with allegedly violating US sanctions related to Russia’s takeover of Crimea.

Garland touted the new charges as well as the disruption of the GRU botnet, which is a bot that can hack and steal information.

“The Russian government recently used similar infrastructure to attack Ukrainian targets,” Garland said. “Fortunately, we were able to disrupt this botnet before it could be used. Thanks to our close collaboration with international partners, we were able to detect the infection of thousands of hardware devices in the network.”

The new shares come on top of a yacht – belonging to another Kremlin-linked oligarch facing sanctions, Victor Vekselberg – which was seized earlier this week.

Additionally, Garland said on Wednesday, the Justice Department, in coordination with its German law enforcement partners, seized the “Russian-affiliated darknet Hydra market – the world’s largest illegal market on the dark web”. Charges had been laid, according to Garland, against a Russian national who allegedly administered the market’s technical infrastructure.

Monaco said the Hydra market exchange facilitated the buying and selling of a “staggering variety” of illicit goods in Russian-speaking countries.

Garland pledged that the Department “will continue to work alongside our international partners to hold accountable those who violate our laws, threaten our national security and harm our allies.”

“Our message to those who continue to enable the Russian regime through their criminal conduct is: It doesn’t matter how far you sail with your yacht. It doesn’t matter how well you conceal your assets. your malware or hide your online activity,” Garland said. “The Department of Justice will use every tool available to find you, disrupt your plots, and hold you accountable.”

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