A BRIT businessman has been arrested after allegedly helping an oligarch dubbed Putin’s “favorite industrialist” dodge US sanctions.
Graham Bonham-Carter, 62, faces extradition to the US after being accused of financing properties bought by billionaire Oleg Deripaska and exporting his artworks abroad.
The business mogul and second cousin of Hollywood star Helena Bonham-Carter was arrested in the UK on Tuesday.
But US prosecutors are asking for his extradition, the Justice Department said.
He is said to have helped the aluminum tycoon and Putin’s close friend preserve his property in the States and move his fortune, prosecutors claim.
Deripaska, 54, has been under US sanctions since 2018 for his alleged ties to the Kremlin, while a number of other oligarchs have faced restrictions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Companies and banks have been banned from doing business with the wealthy Russian over an alleged string of criminal activities.
The Justice Department claims his pal Bonham-Carter then set up a company under his orders to manage his lavish homes.
The British businessman is accused of setting up GBCM Limited to service the plush pads, including two in New York City and one in Washington DC.
Money was allegedly transferred from a company account in Russia to pay employee salaries, property taxes and upkeep of the oligarch’s premises.
Prosecutors claim Bonham-Carter was involved in more than £900,000 worth of illicit transactions to fund the alleged property racketeer.
He also managed residential properties for Deripaska across the UK and Europe, it said.
Damian Williams, Manhattan Attorney General, said: “Bonham-Carter concealed the source of the funding for the upkeep and administration of Deripaska’s lavish US assets, in violation of international sanctions.”
According to court documents, the 62-year-old has worked for companies controlled by Deripaska since July 2003.
Bonham-Carter routinely referred to Deripaska as his “boss” in a series of emails — even as recently as October 13 last year.
In one message, he wrote: “It’s all good except that the banks keep closing me down because of my affiliation with my boss Oleg Deripaska.”
Bonham-Carter is also accused of attempting to transfer artworks bought by Putin’s pal from a New York auction house to London.
He allegedly falsely claimed that the artwork did not belong to Deripaska – despite the shipping note to the oligarchs.
The businessman now faces three charges: conspiracy to evade US sanctions; violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act; and referral fraud.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The US Department of Justice said its investigation into explosives had been conducted with “substantial support” from Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
Deripaska was also sanctioned by Britain earlier this year for being “closely linked to the Kremlin and Putin.”
He was one of seven oligarchs reprimanded on March 10 for “participating in destabilizing and threatening” Ukraine.
Bonham-Carter’s bank accounts were frozen for six months at Westminster Magistrates’ Court the same month after they were alleged to contain money linked to Deripaska.
Four days after the sanctions were imposed on Deripaska, protesters broke into one of his properties in Belgravia Square, London, before declaring it belonged to “Ukrainian refugees”.
They took over the £50million, 11-bedroom mansion and hung banners that read ‘Putin go f**k yourself’.
The industrialist founded the aluminum company Rusal and is considered an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
His fortune is estimated at more than £2 billion and he was once the richest man in Russia.
The NCA said Bonham-Carter appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court following the US extradition request and was released on conditional bail.
The FBI New York Field Office and Counterintelligence Division are investigating the case.
A lawyer for Bonham-Carter has also been charged with wire fraud.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6425672/helena-bonham-carters-cousin-arrested-helping-oligarch-dodge-sanctions/ British businessman arrested for helping “Putin’s favorite industrialists” dodge US sanctions over Ukraine war.