UK citizen charged in NYC case against Russian oligarch

Oct 10, 2022, 11:06 PM | Updated: Oct 11, 2022, 11:12 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities said they are seeking the extradition of a man arrested Tuesday in the United Kingdom on charges in New York City accusing him of helping a Russian oligarch violate U.S. sanctions, including by hiding his ownership in artwork so he could transfer it from a New York auction house to London.

Graham Bonham-Carter, 62, a United Kingdom citizen, was arrested on charges related to his work for Russian oligarch Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, who was charged in Manhattan federal court last month along with three of his associates.

Deripaska and three of his associates were criminally charged last month with violating U.S. sanctions. Deripaska and two of the associates remain fugitives.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a release that Bonham-Carter provided property management and other services to Deripaska and “obscured the origin of funding for upkeep and management of Deripaska’s lavish U.S. assets, in violation of the international sanctions.”

Michael J. Driscoll, head of New York’s FBI office, said Tuesday’s arrest was aided by partnerships with international investigative agencies, “all of whom are strategically focused on stopping the Russian oligarchs and their criminal kleptocracy.”

“With each new action we take, we shine a light on the vast network of individuals willing to work with Russian oligarchs who brazenly break our laws and abuse our financial systems,” Driscoll said. “Bonham-Carter allegedly hid Deripaska’s money and assets from federal authorities, and continued to do so even after Deripaska was sanctioned by the U.S.”

Deripaska, 52, has faced economic sanctions since 2018, when he was designated for them by the U.S. Treasury Department, which said he had acted for or on behalf of a senior Russian official and had operated in the energy sector of the Russian economy.

Authorities said Deripaska spent hundreds of thousands of dollars so his child could be born in the United States and access the U.S. health care system and other benefits of a U.S. birthright. The child, upon birth, received U.S. citizenship.

An indictment charged Bonham-Carter with three crimes, all of which carry a potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Among the charges, the indictment said he engaged in over $1 million of illicit transactions from 2005 to 2008 to fund real estate properties in the U.S. for Deripaska’s benefit, including two in Manhattan and one in Washington, D.C.

It said that a New York auction house confronted Bonham-Carter in May 2021 about his efforts to unlawfully transfer art bought by Deripaska from New York to London. Authorities said Bonham-Carter denied it.

“In fact, as Bonham-Carter knew, Deripaska had purchased the artwork, it remained his property, and the funds used to pay for shipping would be billed to Deripaska,” federal authorities wrote in a release.

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UK citizen charged in NYC case against Russian oligarch