Associate of Russian oligarch accused of violating sanctions
NEW YORK (AP) — An associate of a Russian billionaire was charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with violating U.S. sanctions and money laundering.
The indictment charged Vladimir Voronchenko, a Russian who is a permanent U.S. resident, with joining a scheme to make over $4 million in payments to maintain four U.S. properties belonging to the sanctioned oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. Authorities said Voronchenko also tried to sell two of those properties.
Voronchenko was also charged with contempt of court for fleeing the U.S. after receiving a grand jury subpoena last May on Fisher Island, Florida, that required his testimony. Voronchenko took a flight from Miami to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and then to Moscow, authorities said.
Voronchenko, 70, has lived in Moscow, Manhattan, Southampton, New York and Fisher Island, Florida, while promoting himself as as a successful businessman, art collector and dealer and a close friend and business associate of Vekselberg, whose yacht and private airplane were blocked last year by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. officials said in a release.
The release said Vekselberg, through a series of shell companies, has owned real estate worth about $75 million, including a Manhattan apartment, an estate in Southampton, New York, along with a Fisher Island, Florida apartment and a penthouse apartment there.
Authorities said Voronchenko and others tried to sell the Manhattan apartment and the Southampton estate after Vekselberg was sanctioned in 2018 by the U.S. Treasury Office.
It was not immediately clear if Voronchenko has a lawyer.
Federal agents in September searched several of the properties connected to Voronchenko and Vekselberg.
The story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Voronchenko's first name. It is Vladimir not Vladimire.