Russian oligarch, associates charged with sanctions evasion

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Attorney General Merrick Garland attends a news conference on June 13, 2022, at the Department of Justice in Washington.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday announced that a U.S. citizen has been charged for allegedly helping Russian oligarch Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska violate and evade U.S. sanctions. 

New Jersey resident Olga Shriki has been accused of helping facilitate the illicit travel of Deripaska’s girlfriend, who allegedly entered the U.S. to give birth to the oligarch’s child, according to a release from the department

Shriki has been further charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting records related to her involvement in the scheme. The American was arrested Thursday morning. 

Deripaska, who owns the private investment and management company Basic Element, was slapped with economic sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department in 2018, after which he “conspired with others to evade and to violate those sanctions in various ways and over the course of several years,” according to the DOJ. 

He was also allegedly aided by Russian Natalia Mikhaylovna Bardakova, the department said. Bardakova has been charged with making false statements to the FBI. 

The oligarch “illegally utilized the U.S. financial system to maintain and retain three luxury properties in the United States” and reaped financial benefit via U.S. financial institutions with the help of both Shriki and Bardakova, the DOJ said. 

Shriki, the American, allegedly engaged in illegal transactions on Deripaska’s behalf as he obscured himself behind corporate shell companies.

She and Bardakova then allegedly facilitated the travel logistics for Ekaterina Olegovna Voronina when she entered the U.S. in 2020 to give birth to Deripaska’s child, who received U.S. citizenship upon birth, the DOJ said.

“Despite Deripaska’s ongoing support for the Russian regime, he funded hundreds of thousands of dollars of transactions so that his child would take advantage of the U.S. health care system and U.S. birthright citizenship … Deripaska distrusted the safety of the Russian hospital system,” the DOJ said in its release, noting that Voronina had applied for a 10-day travel visa without disclosing she planned to stay in the country for six months and give birth to Deripaska’s child there.

The group of associates then allegedly made a second attempt to facilitate Voronina’s travel to the U.S. to give birth to the couple’s second child in 2022, according to the department — but the oligarch’s girlfriend was denied entry.  

Voronina has been charged with making false statements to the Homeland Security Department as she attempted to enter the U.S. 

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement that the charges reveal that “while serving the Russian state and energy sector, Oleg Deripaska sought to circumvent U.S. sanctions through lies and deceit to cash in on and benefit from the American way of life.” 

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the charges are part of the country’s promise to go after “those who evade U.S. sanctions in order to enable the Russian regime,” an effort the department ramped up after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Shriki has been charged with one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions and one count of destruction of records. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.

Tags charge Department of Justice Department of Justice DOJ DOJ Justice Department Lisa Monaco Merrick Garland Merrick Garland oligarch russia Russia Russia sanctions Russian oligarch Russian oligarch sanctions
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