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The U.S. Justice Department has charged nine people and two companies with the illegal sale of dual-use technology to Russia and money laundering.
The first case involved five Russian nationals, the Justice Department said in a news release, and the businesses are oil brokers working with Venezuela. They have been charged with participation in a global sanction evasion and money laundering scheme.
“One defendant was arrested on Oct. 17 in Germany and another defendant was arrested on Oct. 17 in Italy, both at the request of the United States. As alleged, the defendants obtained military technology from U.S. companies, smuggled millions of barrels of oil, and laundered tens of millions of dollars for Russian industrialists, sanctioned entities, and the world’s largest energy conglomerate,” the Justice Department also said.
“These charges reveal two separate global schemes to violate U.S. export and sanctions laws, including by shipping sensitive military technologies from U.S. manufacturers – including types found in seized Russian weapons platforms in Ukraine – and attempting to reexport a machine system with potential application in nuclear proliferation and defense programs to Russia,” Attorney-General Merrick B. Garland said.
“As I have said, our investigators and prosecutors will be relentless in their efforts to identify, locate, and bring to justice those whose illegal acts undermine the rule of law and enable the Russian regime to continue its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” Garland added.
In addition to selling military technology to Russia, those indicted in the first case were charged with selling Venezuelan crude oil to Russian and Chinese buyers. The scheme involved “a myriad of transactions involving shell companies and cryptocurrency,” said the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York where the case will be heard.
The second case concerns three Latvian nationals and a Ukrainian who “attempted to smuggle a high-precision export-controlled item to Russia where it could have been used in nuclear proliferation and Russian defense programs,” per U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery of the District of Connecticut.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com