British businessman Graham Bonham-Carter is arrested and faces extradition to the US over allegations he helped Russian oligarch avoid sanctions

  • Businessman Graham Bonham-Carter arrested for ‘helping Russian oligarch’
  • Bonham-Carter faces three charges each with a maximum sentence of 20 years
  • Prosecutors allege he is employed by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska

A British businessman has been arrested and faces extradition to the United States accused of violating sanctions imposed on Russian oligarch Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska.

Prosecutors in the US allege Graham Bonham-Carter made payments for Deripaska’s local properties and made attempts to move artwork totaling $USD$12,146 overseas.

The US Department of Justice has imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs they claim have connections to the Kremlin in condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine.

Some sanctions – including those on Deripaska – date back to 2018, following Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 federal election.

Bonham-Carter, 62, was arrested on Tuesday and is alleged to have assisted Deripaska in handling his American real estate in 2021, years after these sanctions were imposed.

Prosecutors in the US allege Graham Bonham-Carter made payments for Deripaska’s local properties and made attempts to move artwork totaling $USD$12,146 overseas

The US Department of Justice has imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs with connections to the Kremlin in condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine

Prosecutors allege Bonham-Carter wired just over $USD 1 million (£910,000) from a Russian bank account to a New York bank account which managed the oligarch’s residential properties in the United States.

He’s also accused of attempting to transfer artwork Deripaska purchased from a New York auction house to London. 

It’s alleged Bonham-Carter, who is a second-cousin of A-list actress Helena Bonham Carter, falsely told the auction house the art did not belong to Deripaska.

According to court documents, Bonham-Carter worked for companies in Deripaska’s control since 2003 – including managing his properties across the United Kingdom and Europe. 

Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said: ‘Bonham-Carter obscured the origin of funding for upkeep and management of Deripaska’s lavish US assets, in violation of the international sanctions.’

Some sanctions – including those on Deripaska – date back to 2018, following Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 federal election

Court documents reveal Bonham-Carter referred to Deripaska as his ‘boss’ as recently as October 13, 2021.

In an email, he wrote: ‘It’s all good apart from banks keep shutting me down because of my affiliation to my boss Oleg Deripaska.

‘I have even been advised not to go to the USA where Oleg still has personal sanctions as the authorities will undoubtedly pull me to one side and the questioning could be hours or even days!’ 

Deripaska, 54, is one of a group of businessmen known as oligarchs who control large parts of the Russian economy, especially in energy and commodities, and have been able to preserve their fortunes on condition that they stay out of politics. 

Following the United States’ request for extradition, Bonham-Carter was ordered to face a London court where he was granted conditional bail.

He has been charged with one count of conspiring to violate and evade US sanctions, one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and one count of wire fraud.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The FBI New York Field Office and Counterintelligence Division are investigating the case.

A lawyer for Bonham-Carter is also facing charges of wire fraud. 

Bonham-Carter was allegedly managing properties for Deripaska across the United Kingdom, EU and United States

Deripaska says destroying Ukraine ‘would be a colossal mistake’ and predicts there will be no winners from Putin’s ‘war’ in rare break with Kremlin 

In a rare break from the Kremlin’s narrative about the war in Ukraine, Deripaska came out publicly to condemn the activity in June 2022.

He said destroying Ukraine ‘would be a colossal mistake’ and predicted there would be no winners in Putin’s ‘war’. 

The 54-year-old, who made his fortune as founder of aluminium giant Rusal, said it is ‘obvious’ that sanctions are hurting Russia more than the West – defying Moscow’s argument that financial penalties have backfired.

‘Now we are sitting and waiting for victory. Victory of what? Whose victory?’ Deripaska asked journalists at a press conference in Moscow.

Though he was careful to avoid criticising the Kremlin or Putin directly, Deripaska’s words never-the-less represent a rare public break with the government by someone inside the country.

‘I’m troubled by how quickly we abandoned everything that was achieved (economically) in the 90s, then we abandoned everything that we achieved in the 2000s.’

Deripaska is one of a group of businessmen known as oligarchs who control large parts of the Russian economy, especially in energy and commodities, and have been able to preserve their fortunes on condition that they stay out of politics.

Putin calls the invasion is actually a ‘special military operation’ to ‘demilitarise’ and ‘denazify’ the country, a line rejected by Kyiv and the West as baseless propaganda.

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