Russian National Pleads Guilty to Laundering $65 Million to Fund Ukraine Invasion

Russian national Feliks Medvedev pleaded guilty to laundering $65M through Singapore's gold exchange to fund Russia's Ukraine invasion. This case highlights US efforts to enforce sanctions and crack down on Russian money laundering.

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Russian National Pleads Guilty to Laundering $65 Million to Fund Ukraine Invasion

Russian National Pleads Guilty to Laundering $65 Million to Fund Ukraine Invasion

Feliks Medvedev, a Russian national residing in the United States, pleaded guilty on April 21, 2024 to laundering over $65 million through the Singapore Precious Metals Exchange (SGPMX) to purchase gold bullion stored in Singapore. The money laundering scheme was part of a larger $150 million operation to fund Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

According to court documents, Medvedev operated an unlicensed money transmitting business and moved the illicit funds through multiple overseas companies. He was charged with one count of operating a money transfer business without a license and 39 counts of money laundering. Two other Russians, Alexey Chubarov and Lev Solyannikov, were alleged to have conspired with Medvedev in the scheme, including instructing him to purchase the gold bars from SGPMX.

Why this matters: The case highlights the U.S. government's continued efforts to enforce sanctions against Russian oligarchs and enablers of the invasion of Ukraine. It also emphasizes the role of precious metals and foreign exchanges in facilitating the laundering of funds for illicit purposes.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice's Task Force KleptoCapture, which was created to enforce sanctions against Russian oligarchs in response to the invasion of Ukraine. In a statement, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said, "The defendant used his unlicensed money transmitting business to transfer funds for the purpose of supporting Russia's unprovoked war in Ukraine. This prosecution should serve as a message that the United States will use every tool at its disposal to hold Russia and its enablers accountable."

Medvedev is scheduled to be sentenced on May 7, 2024. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each money laundering count and five years in prison for the unlicensed money transmitting count. The guilty plea is a significant development in the U.S. government's ongoing efforts to crack down on Russian money laundering and sanction evasion in support of the war in Ukraine.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian national Feliks Medvedev pleaded guilty to laundering $65M through Singapore
  • Funds were part of a $150M operation to finance Russia's invasion of Ukraine
  • Medvedev operated an unlicensed money transmitting business and used overseas companies
  • Case investigated by FBI and prosecuted by DOJ's Task Force KleptoCapture
  • Medvedev faces up to 20 years in prison for money laundering and 5 years for unlicensed business