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US seeks extradition of Brit over Russian sanctions breach

US seeks extradition of Brit over Russian sanctions breach

by host

LONDON — The U.S. is seeking the extradition of British businessman Graham Bonham-Carter, charged with conspiring to breach sanctions imposed by Washington on a Russian oligarch.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Bonham-Carter was arrested in the U.K. on Tuesday after being accused of making payments for U.S. properties purchased by Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs and a metals magnate, and expatriating his artwork from New York City to London.

“Bonham-Carter obscured the origin of funding for upkeep and management of Deripaska’s lavish U.S. assets, in violation of the international sanctions,” Manhattan attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

Bonham-Carter is accused of making illicit transactions worth more than $1 million to fund properties in the U.S. for Deripaska’s benefit, following an investigation carried out with “substantial assistance” from the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA). He faces three different charges, each one carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The businessman was released on bail after appearing before Westminster Magistrates Court in London.

The U.S. authorities alleged that Bonham-Carter worked for Deripaska for nearly 20 years, and managed the oligarch’s real estate in the U.K. and other European countries, including a house in London’s swanky Belgravia Square.

Deripaska was sanctioned by the U.K. in March as part of a group of oligarchs targeted over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That same month, a judge at Westminster Magistrates Court froze Bonham-Carter’s bank accounts and gave the NCA six months to investigate, amid allegations some of his properties and companies that he is linked to in fact belonged to Deripaska.

In one email, dated October 2021 and disclosed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bonham-Carter wrote: “It[’]s all good apart from banks keep shutting me down because of my affiliation to my boss Oleg Deripaska … I have even been advised not to go to the USA where Oleg still has personal sanctions as the authorities will undoubtedly pull me to one side and the questioning could be hours or even days!!”

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