14 Apr, 2024
1 min read

US cracks down on sanctioned Russian oligarchs

A number of sanctioned Russian oligarchs and their associates in the United States were arrested or indicted on Feb. 22, the US Justice Department announced.

The enforcement actions coincide with the US announcement new sanctions against Russia on the eve of the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“The Justice Department is more committed than ever to cutting off the flow of illegal funds that are fueling (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war and to holding accountable those who continue to enable it,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

In the Southern District of New York, the Justice Department unsealed charges against sanctioned Russian oligarchs Andrey Kostin and two of his US-based facilitators, Vadim Belyaev and Gannon Bond. Belyaev and Bond were arrested on Feb. 22.

A grand jury in Florida charged sanctioned pro-Russian Ukrainian businessman Serhii Kurchenko in a sanctions-evasion scheme involving approximately $330 million. Also in Florida, the US filed a civil forfeiture complaint against luxury properties, worth $2.5 million, owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Perevalov.

In a case in Atlanta, US-based dual national Feliks Medvedev pleaded guilty to laundering over $150 million for Russian clients.

In Washington, DC, Russian businessman Vladislav Osipov was charged with bank fraud.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said that since February 2022, the Justice Department has won judgments to forfeit nearly $700 million in Russian assets.

“The charges we announced today against oligarchs, facilitators, and money launderers are the next chapter: so long as Russia’s aggression continues, so too will our resolve to hold its enablers accountable,” Monaco said.

Read also: EU ambassadors agree on 13th package of sanctions against Russia

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2 mins read

Former US attorney general says DOJ ‘back on track’ after slow start to Jan. 6 probes

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election started too slowly, but that the department is now “back on track.”

“The Justice Department was a little late in leaning up its investigation, its inquiry with regards to those people at the top of this whole conspiracy,” he said in an MSNBC interview on Saturday. “They’ve done and continue to do a great job with the foot soldiers who were there on Jan. 6th.”

Holder said the agency’s early focus on lining up cases against individuals who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot on the Capitol, and saving the leaders of the scheme until now — years later — was a poor decision. He would have investigated both groups in parallel, he was claimed.

Now, it appears that the department’s investigations will be wrapping up in the middle of the 2024 election cycle. Investigators delivered Trump a target letter on Sunday, notifying him that he is under investigation.

“That is one of the negative consequences for that delay. The Justice Department is operating quite well now, but that pause is going to have an impact, in some form or passion, on our politics,” the Obama administration official said.

Holder also criticized the Trump campaign’s conduct after the 2020 election, including the former president’s trump-defends-perfect-call-with-raffensperger-amid-threat-of-prison-sentences-from-georgia-probe/” data-ylk=”slk:phone call;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “phone calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he asked him to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.

“This was a different form of ballot stuffing, to ‘find’ votes that weren’t there and to have them counted, to fake electors and try to swear them in as representatives of a particular state,” Holder said.

“What was attempted by the former president and those around him

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1 min read

Ex-acting US attorney general Rosen joins Cravath law firm

  • Jeffrey Rosen led the Justice Department in the dying days of the Trump administration.
  • Cravath opened its Washington office last year, marking its first location outside New York.

(Reuters) – Jeffrey Rosen, the former acting US attorney general under President Donald Trump, has joined law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore in Washington, DC, the firm said on Monday.

Rosen, who led the Justice Department in the last days of the Trump administration, will be of counsel in Cravath’s litigation department. He will advise clients on government investigations, corporate compliance, antitrust and other matters, the firm said.

Rosen, who was confirmed as deputy attorney general, assumed the top post in the department after US Attorney General William Barr stepped down in December 2020. He remained in the role during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

Rosen told the House panel investigating the attack that he and other top Justice Department officials resisted Trump’s efforts to use the department to advance false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election and overturn his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Earlier in the Trump administration, he served as deputy secretary in the Department of Transportation. He was general counsel in the White House Office of Management and Budget during the George W. Bush administration.

Rosen, who spent several years at Kirkland & Ellis in between government roles, did not return to a law firm after leaving the Justice Department. He has been a non-resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, since 2021.

Cravath opened an office in Washington, DC last year, only the second outside of New York for the 200-year-old Wall Street law firm. Cravath recruited three former top government regulatory officials to start the office, an unusual move for

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1 min read

Former US attorney Preet Bharara believes the Justice Department is “on a path to charge” Trump

The Department of Justice is “on a path to charge” former President Trump, former US attorney Preet Bharara told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Driving the news: Last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of a special counsel, Jack Smith, to oversee the federal criminal investigations into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and handling of classified documents.

  • Smith, a veteran federal prosecutor, will be tasked with prosecuting federal crimes that have arisen from the investigations.

What they’re saying: Bharara said the Department of Justice was “loaded for bear,” citing the appointment of Smith as special counsel and the creation of a legal team that includes “a number of very seasoned prosecutors” who were brought on to help determine whether the DOJ has a case that can go to trial.

  • “I don’t think they would’ve left their former positions, both in government and private practice, unless there was a serious possibility that the Justice Department was on a path to charge. And I think it’ll happen in a month, ” he added.
  • “When you’re charging somebody in maybe the highest-stakes trial, in some ways, in history, because it’s the former president of the United States, you’ve got to have all your ducks in a row.”
  • “You want to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and you want to have a strong case. I think you want to have an exceptionally strong case,” given how heavily politicized the context surrounding the case would be, Bharara said.
  • “To show not just the jury in the case but the public at large that it was a righteous case, it was a meritorious case, and you have the goods.”

Go deeper: Trump’s new nemesis

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2 mins read

Former US attorney says a criminal referral from Jan. 6 panels is ‘largely symbolic’

Former US Attorney Preet Bharara said a potential criminal referral from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol would be a “largely symbolic” move.

Speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, Bharara noted the Department of Justice (DOJ) is already investigating the case, has issued subpoenas and is likely “far along” in the probe.

“It’s largely symbolic because at the time we first started having this debate about a referral, it wasn’t clear how far along the Justice Department was,” he explained. “Since then, the Justice Department has appointed a special counsel, as we mentioned, and they have a lot of staff they’ve added to the matter.”

The House panels announced last week it would release a list of criminal referrals along with a final report on the Capitol riots.

Lawmakers are meeting on Sunday to hash out what referrals it could send to the DOJ, which ultimately has the power to pursue charges.

The DOJ appointed a special counsel last month to probe two cases against Trump, including his role in the Jan. 6 attack, and investigators have already subpoenaed election officials in Michigan, Arizona and Wisconsin.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House panel, told ABC’s “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan the committee is carefully examining each case before sending it to the DOJ — so a referral would indicate a suggestion of criminal charges based on collected evidence.

“We’re all certainly in agreement that there is evidence of criminality here and we want to make sure that the Justice Department is aware of that,” he said.

The Jan. 6 panel is tightlipped so far about who might be included in the referrals. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday would not tell ABC’s “This Week,”

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2 mins read

Insurance Broker Arthur J. Gallagher Subpoenaed by Justice Department’s Foreign Bribery Unit

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. said it received a subpoena from the Justice Department’s foreign bribery unit, making it the latest company to become ensnared in a sprawling investigation into corruption at state-owned companies in Ecuador.

The Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based insurance brokerage disclosed the subpoena in a quarterly financial report this week. The information request, which the company said it received in its third quarter, was from the Justice Department’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit, Arthur J. Gallagher said.

Prosecutors from that unit have asked Arthur J. Gallagher for information related to its insurance business with public entities in Ecuador, the company said in its Nov. 2 reports.

The FCPA is an antibribery statute that prohibits companies with ties to the US from paying bribes to foreign public officials to gain a business advantage. The law is enforced by the Justice Department and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Justice Department’s FCPA unit has for years pursued investigations into corruption at state-owned enterprises in Latin America, in a multiagency effort that has yielded dozens of indictments against businessmen and current and former government officials in Ecuador and Venezuela.

A spokesperson for Arthur J. Gallagher didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company in its filing said it was cooperating with the government’s investigation and that it didn’t expect the probe to result in a material loss.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the disclosure.

One recent line of the Justice Department’s investigation has focused on Ecuadorean state-owned insurance companies. In July, the department charged three men who it said conspired to pay bribes to officials at Seguros Sucre SA and Seguros Rocafuerte SA.

The

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2 mins read

Insurance Broker Arthur J. Gallagher Subpoenaed by Justice Department’s Foreign Bribery Unit

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. said it received a subpoena from the Justice Department’s foreign bribery unit, making it the latest company to become ensnared in a sprawling investigation into corruption at state-owned companies in Ecuador.

The Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based insurance brokerage disclosed the subpoena in a quarterly financial report this week. The information request, which the company said it received in its third quarter, was from the Justice Department’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit, Arthur J. Gallagher said.

Prosecutors from that unit have asked Arthur J. Gallagher for information related to its insurance business with public entities in Ecuador, the company said in its Nov. 2 reports.

The FCPA is an antibribery statute that prohibits companies with ties to the US from paying bribes to foreign public officials to gain a business advantage. The law is enforced by the Justice Department and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Justice Department’s FCPA unit has for years pursued investigations into corruption at state-owned enterprises in Latin America, in a multiagency effort that has yielded dozens of indictments against businessmen and current and former government officials in Ecuador and Venezuela.

A spokesperson for Arthur J. Gallagher didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company in its filing said it was cooperating with the government’s investigation and that it didn’t expect the probe to result in a material loss.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the disclosure.

One recent line of the Justice Department’s investigation has focused on Ecuadorean state-owned insurance companies. In July, the department charged three men who it said conspired to pay bribes to officials at Seguros Sucre SA and Seguros Rocafuerte SA.

The

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2 mins read

Trump’s DOJ pushed for legal action against John Kerry, says ex-US attorney

Former President Trump’s Justice Department pushed for a criminal investigation of former Secretary of State John Kerry, an ex-US attorney revealed in a new book, according to bermantrump-book.html” data-ylk=”slk:The New York Times” class=”link “The New York Times.

The push for an investigation of Kerry was one of several instances in which Trump’s Justice Department pressured the US attorney’s office in Manhattan to take action against the then-president’s critics, according to Geoffrey Berman, the former US attorney for the Southern District of New York . Berman was fired by Trump in June 2020.

In May 2018, the Justice Department told Berman’s office it would be investigating Kerry’s Iran-related conduct, Berman details in his new book “Holding the Line,” out Tuesday, according to the Times.

The request came days after Trump publicly attacked Kerry on Twitter over the Iran nuclear deal, which he helped negotiate as head of the State Department in the Obama administration, Berman said. Trump withdrew the US from the accords around the same time.

“The conduct that had annoyed the president was now a priority of the Department of Justice,” Berman wrote, according to the Times.

After Berman’s office declined to prosecute Kerry, the request was sent to another US attorney’s office, in Maryland, which also declined to prosecute, Berman said in his book, according to the Times.

In another case of what he described as a “clear” and “outrageous” pattern, Berman said the Justice Department referred a case against Gregory Craig, former White House counsel for the Obama administration, to his office.

Berman claims he was asked to charge Craig prior to the midterm elections in order to “even things out,” according to the Times. The case was similarly shuffled around to another US attorney’s office after Berman declined to prosecute.

Trump’s

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2 mins read

Attorney general Garland personally approved search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said that he personally approved the decision to seek a warrant so that the FBI could search former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

Mr Garland delivered a statement on Thursday afternoon regarding the FBI executing a search warrant on the former president’s estate. He said in his statement that the Department of Justice had filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida to unseal the warrant.

Mr Garland said that the department does not make decisions like this lightly.

“Where possible it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken,” he said.

Mr Garland said that the search warrant was authorized upon the required finding of probable cause and said the Justice Department filed to make the warrant public given Mr Trump’s confirmation of the search and the public interest in the matter.

Mr Garland’s words come after the FBI’s search of his Palm Beach, Florida, home on Monday evening, which Mr Trump immediately criticized by saying that the bureau used the search of his property to plant unspecified evidence against him.

The attorney general also spoke out against criticisms of the professionalism of the FBI and the Justice Department.

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked the men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated patriotic public servants every day,” he said. “They protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety, while safeguarding our civil rights.”

Shortly after Mr Garland’s statement, the former president posted a statement on Truth Social.

“I continue to ask, what happened to the 33 million pages of documents taken to Chicago by President Obama?” he said. “The fake

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