With whistleblower law on the books, US authorities have cracked down on Russian sanctions

On December 29, President Biden signed the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Whistleblower Improvement Act into law. The law is a prominent part of the fight against corruption and, in addition to strengthening whistleblower protection for money laundering crimes, expands the Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Program to whistleblowers who disclose violations of US sanctions.

Since the Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act became law, the US Department of Justice has announced a number of charges against individuals who allegedly violated US sanctions against Russia.

On January 20, the Department of Justice announced charges against two Russian businessmen, Vladislav Osipov, and Richard Masters, a British national, for facilitating sanctions evasion and a money laundering scheme in connection with Tango, a $90 million luxury property and 255 ft. A yacht owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

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According to the DOJ indictment, “Despite U.S. sanctions issued against Vekselberg in April 2018, Osipov and Masters facilitated Tango’s operation by using U.S. corporations and the U.S. financial system, in an attempt to obscure Vekselberg’s involvement in the vessel.” At Vekselberg and who worked as Tango’s property manager, he created a complex ownership structure for shell companies to disguise Vekselberg’s ownership of the yacht, even though Vekselberg designed the yacht, was the sole user, and was the ultimate beneficial owner.”

Sanctions evasion facilitators enable oligarchs who support Vladimir Putin’s regime to flout US law. US Attorney General Matthew M.

On January 23, the Justice Department announced charges against Charles F. McGonigal, a former special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York, and Sergei Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat. The Justice Department accused the men of violating US sanctions against Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

The Department of Justice claims that “in 2021, McGonigal and Shestakov conspired to provide services to Deripaska, in violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018.” Specifically, following their negotiations with Deripaska’s agent, McGonigal and Shestakov agreed to an investigation of the rival Russian oligarch in exchange for hidden payments from Deripaska. As part of their negotiations with Deripaska’s agent, McGonigal, Shestakov, and the agent attempted to conceal Deripaska’s involvement by, among other means, Not naming Deripaska directly in electronic communications, using fictitious companies as counterparties to the contract that specified the services to be performed, using a false signature on that contract and using the same fictitious companies to send and receive payments from Deripaska.”

The defendants in both cases face money laundering charges in addition to penalties evasion charges. Under the Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act, individuals who voluntarily provide US authorities with original information about sanctions and money laundering violations can qualify for whistleblower rewards of 10-30% of funds raised by the US.

In a recent article by ReutersLeading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto explains how the Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act is a “game-changer” in the fight against Russian corruption.

“Although the Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Improvement Act broadly covers violations of both money laundering and sanctions requirements, the ability to use this Act immediately to impose all financial restrictions imposed on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine was the driving force behind its passage,” Cohn writes. .

“The hidden gem of the AML Whistleblower Improvement Act was its ability to incentivize whistleblowers from within Russia and Russia’s trading partners,” Kuhn continues. “Given the law’s transnational reach, citizens of countries that have financial or commercial relations with Russia will have the ability to safely and effectively blow the whistle and assist US authorities in the seizure of sanctioned Russian wealth.”

Further reading:

Announcement of arrest and criminal charges against British and Russian businessmen for facilitating sanctions over a $90 million Russian oligarch’s yacht | OPA | Ministry of Justice

The former special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York has been charged with violating US sanctions against Russia | OPA | Ministry of Justice

The new anti-money laundering law is seen as a “change agent” in the fight against Russian corruption

More anti-money laundering whistleblower news on WNN

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