The United States accused two people of protecting the assets of a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin
The maneuvers lasted for years and sought to keep the super yacht of businessman Viktor Vekselberg in operation
The United States accused two people of protecting the assets of a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin (AP)
the United States filed criminal charges against two individuals whom he accused of having carried out maneuvers that allowed to prevent the confiscation of a super yacht belonging to a Russian oligarch.
As reported this Friday by the US Department of Justice, it is about Vladislav Osipov, 51, with dual nationality -Russian and Swiss- and the British Richard Masters, 52, who are accused of evading sanctions and money laundering in relation to “Tango” the vessel valued at 90 million dollars.
Vladislav Osipov is wanted for defrauding the United States< p class="paragraph">The super yacht measures 78 meters and belongs to Viktor Vekselberg, close to President Vladimir Putin. The oligarch has been sanctioned by the United States for years and, more recently, after the war that Russia waged in Ukraine, they intensified.
"Tango" is valued at $90 million and was seized in April 2022
This Friday, Masters was arrested in Spain on a request from Washington, awaiting his extradition. While Osipov remains on the run of Justice, although a similar order weighs on him.
According to investigations carried out by the US authorities, after the billionaire Vekselberg -head of the Renova Group conglomerate- was sanctioned in 2018, Osipov and Masters used shell companies to conceal ownership and ensure continued use of the yacht.
Masters ran a yacht management company in Palma de Mallorca and was thus able to benefit the oligarch (Getty Images)
The sanctions ordered by the United States imply the blocking of any assets that those involved had under the jurisdiction of the country, as well as the prohibition of local people or entities from doing business with them.
Masters ran a management company of yachts in Palma de Mallorca so, with great ease, he changed the name of the vessel to “Fanta” to help circumvent the sanctions restrictions and keep it running.
“Osipov and Masters advised and allowed 'Tango' employees to continue doing business worth hundreds of thousands of illegally obtained dollars with numerous American companies using various schemes to avoid sanctions, such as payments in other currencies and through third parties, all for the benefit of Vekselberg,” the Justice Department added.
Viktor Vekselberg has been sanctioned by the US for years and since 2018 would have been benefiting from these maneuvers (REUTERS)
In this sense, the indictment released in the last few hours specifies that the two men are facing charges of defrauding the United States and commit crimes against the country for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as well as money laundering, by continuing to exploit the vessel economically.
The yacht was finally seized in April 2022 in Spain.
Although these penalties on the elite have been in force for years, since March the United States has been operating a cell specially dedicated to prosecuting “corrupt Russian oligarchs” and all those who violate the sanctions adopted by Washington against Moscow.
“Sanctions evasion enablers allow oligarchs who support the Vladimir Putin regime to circumvent US law. The United States will not allow its financial institutions to be manipulated or defrauded in order to benefit those who support an illegal war”, declared the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves, in line with this emphasis. from the authorities for punishing these types of actions.
(With information from AFP and EFE)