Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco Delivers Speech on Enforcement Measures to Disrupt and Prosecute Russian Criminal Activity | Takeover bid
Notes on delivery
Thank you, Mr. Attorney General, and good morning everyone, thank you all for being with us today.
As the Attorney General said, we are here today because of the actions the Department of Justice has taken today and over the past few weeks – actions that clearly show that the same Russian government that is fighting to defending his unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine is also corrupt at heart.
The world watched in outrage as innocent Ukrainians continued to suffer at the hands of the Russian government. And for decades, the regime has been supported by widespread corruption.
Corruption starts at the top: with cronies of Vladimir Putin’s oligarch who have earned billions of dollars committing crimes, often at the expense of the Russian people. The crimes of these billionaires actually facilitate Russia’s unprovoked aggression – and fuel a life of luxury for very little. The world watches in horror as Ukrainians are forced to flee their homes, schools and hospitals, and as they bury innocent civilians
Last month, the Attorney General asked me to create a task force – the KleptoCapture Task Force – to use the full gamut of the department’s powers to hold accountable the oligarchs who enable the Russian regime and to ensure that these same oligarchs are feeling the pain of the sanctions imposed on them in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
This working group has worked hard.
Earlier this week, our law enforcement partners in Spain, acting at our request and pursuant to a warrant issued by a US court, seized a $90 million yacht – named the Tango – belonging to the sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. This yacht was then searched by Spanish authorities, accompanied by agents from the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations.
Vekselberg was sanctioned in 2018 by the US Treasury Department as part of a series of sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Mr. Vekselberg defied those sanctions to finance his luxurious lifestyle, including making payments through US banks for the support and maintenance of his yacht – a direct violation of the sanctions imposed on him.
By seizing the Tango, the department demonstrated our commitment to holding corrupt Russian oligarchs accountable – a commitment we have not finished honoring.
Today, charges also emerged in the Southern District of New York against Konstantin Malofeyev, a Russian national and Russian oligarch. Malofeyev is charged with conspiracy to violate and violate US sanctions. These are the first criminal charges brought by the Justice Department against a Russian oligarch since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Mr. Malofeyev was designated following the sanctions imposed in Crimea, which prohibited him from carrying out financial transactions with American persons or with property in the United States. In the years since his sanction, Mr Malofeyev is said to have flagrantly and repeatedly violated the sanctions imposed on him as he attempted to establish media companies across Europe, media companies that would help spread pro-Kremlin disinformation.
Mr. Malofeyev further violated U.S. sanctions in a scheme to transfer stock he owned in a Texas bank to a business associate in 2015. Today, in addition to the criminal charges against Mr. Malofeyev, we seized this multi-million dollar investment. .
While the oligarchs provide some of the most ostentatious displays of Russian illicit finance, they are not the only ones whose financial misconduct is linked to Russia.
Yesterday, the Department of Justice disrupted the Hydra market, the largest and oldest darknet market in the world.
At the same time, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against Dmitry Pavlov, a resident of Russia, for his role in operating and administering the servers used to run Hydra. Our partners in the German Federal Criminal Police played a vital role in this operation and seized over $25 million in bitcoins from Hydra.
And our Treasury Department partners announced sanctions on cryptocurrency exchanges that allegedly facilitated many of Hydra’s transactions.
As alleged, Hydra allowed users from primarily Russian-speaking countries to buy and sell a staggering variety of illicit goods and services, including illegal drugs, stolen financial information, fraudulent passports, and even hacking tools and services. of hacking.
Transactions on Hydra were conducted in cryptocurrency, and last year Hydra alone accounted for around 80% of all cryptocurrency transactions linked to the darknet market. Since 2015, the market has received around $5.2 billion in cryptocurrency.
Let me repeat – Hydra alone accounted for around 80% of all darknet market transactions – over $5 billion in cryptocurrency.
Working side-by-side with our German partners – whose assistance has been critical to our efforts – as well as our law enforcement partners at the IRS and the US Postal Inspection Service here at home – the DEA and the FBI have ensured that cryptocurrency can no longer be used by these criminals to fuel their crimes.
Taken together, these actions make it clear that those who violate our laws should expect to be brought to justice.
As Russia and its aggression continues, we have our eyes on every yacht and jet, we have our eyes on every piece of art and every piece of real estate bought with dirty money and every bitcoin wallet filled with the proceeds of theft and other crimes. Together with our partners around the world, our goal is to ensure that sanctioned Russian oligarchs and cybercriminals do not find refuge.
And now, I’m going to turn the floor over to Director Wray to discuss another tool used by the FBI to deal with Russian aggression.