By Ovunc Kutlu
ISTANBUL (AA) - The US charged a Russian associate of a sanctioned oligarch with money laundering and sanctions evasion, according to an unsealed indictment Tuesday by a federal court in New York.
Vladimir Voronchenko, 70, who resided at various times in the US states of New York, Florida and also Russia, held himself out as a successful businessman, art collector and dealer and a close friend and business associate of Viktor Vekselberg, a sanctioned oligarch, it said.
Voronchenko participated in a scheme to make more than $4 million in payments to maintain four properties in the US that were owned by Vekselberg, as well as to attempt to sell two of the properties, it added.
The Treasury Department sanctioned Vekselberg in 2018 and also last year, while it blocked his yacht and private airplane, as he acquired properties in New York and Florida worth approximately $75 million through a series of shell companies between 2008 and 2017.
Between approximately February 2009 and March 2018, the shell companies owned by Vekselberg sent approximately 90 wire transfers totaling approximately $18.5 million, it said.
Voronchenko and his family members, who lived in Russia, directed an attorney to use the funds to make various US dollar payments to maintain and service the properties, while Voronchenko tried to sell two of the properties, it added.