Russian billionaire and businessman Oleg Deripaska smiles at the plenary session during the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum SPIEF 2022, on June 17, 2022, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

UK businessman arrested for allegedly helping Russian oligarch evade sanctions

Federal authorities are seeking the extradition of a British businessman who was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly helping a Russian oligarch evade sanctions, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced. 

Graham Bonham-Carter, 62, was indicted on counts of wire fraud and conspiring to violate sanctions imposed on his boss, Russian oligarch Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska. 

Bonham-Carter worked for Deripaska for nearly two decades and managed his properties in the United States and London, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday. 

Last year, the businessman allegedly transmitted payments totaling more than $1 million from a bank account in Russia “to pay for various expenses associated with the U.S. Properties, including staff salaries, property taxes, and other services, and to maintain and keep up the U.S. Properties.” 

Russian billionaire and businessman Oleg Deripaska smiles at the plenary session during the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum SPIEF 2022, on June 17, 2022, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
(Contributor/Getty Images)

“The international real estate market, and its infamous opacity, afforded Bonham-Carter no shelter from the diligence and expertise of U.S. law enforcement and our partners,” Andrew Adams, director of the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, said in a statement. 

“Others who would attempt to move illicit money through international markets should take notice: neither powerful connections nor sophisticated deceptions succeeded in hiding Bonham-Carter’s efforts to illegally service a sanctioned oligarch.”

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After Deripaska purchased 18 pieces of artwork from a New York City-based auction house in 2020, Bonham-Carter allegedly arranged for the art to be moved to London and paid $12,146.85 in shipping fees. 

Vladimir Putin and dozens of Russian oligarchs have been hit by Western sanctions in recent years. 

Vladimir Putin and dozens of Russian oligarchs have been hit by Western sanctions in recent years. 
(Pavel Bednyakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

The auction house informed Bonham-Carter that it would “block” the property in accordance with U.S. sanctions unless he could prove it wasn’t purchased by the Russian oligarch. 

Bonham-Carter then emailed the auction house in June 2021, allegedly telling them falsely that “the funds and the property do not belong to Mr[.] Deripaska,” according to the indictment. 

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Bonham-Carter, who is the second cousin of Oscar-nominated English actress Helena Bonham-Carter, faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the three counts he faces. 

FBI agents block access to the street during the U.S. law enforcement's raid on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska's property in Manhattan, New York City, New York.

FBI agents block access to the street during the U.S. law enforcement’s raid on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s property in Manhattan, New York City, New York.
(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Derispaka, who was originally sanctioned in April 2018 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, was also indicted last month for allegedly conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions. 

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According to that indictment, Deripaska helped arrange for his girlfriend to travel to the U.S. in 2020 so that she could give birth to their child in the U.S. 

“Despite [Deripaska’s] ongoing support for the Russian regime, he funded hundreds of thousands of dollars of transactions so that his child could take advantage of the U.S. healthcare system and U.S. birthright,” the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said. 

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