A British businessman has been arrested on suspicion of helping a Russian oligarch evade US sanctions.
Graham Bonham-Carter allegedly helped billionaire Oleg Deripaska move his art out of the U.S. and paid to maintain his U.S. property, prosecutors said.
Mr. Deripaska has been sanctioned by the United States since 2018 for his alleged ties to the Russian government.
But last year prosecutors said Mr. Bonham-Carter diverted more than $1 million to pay for the maintenance of three U.S. properties owned by Mr. Deripaska.
The 62-year-old also allegedly attempted to move art from the New York auction house to London “by concealing Deripaska’s false representation of the artwork’s ownership”.
The allegations were detailed in a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The cousin of actress Helena Bonham Carter, Mr Bonham-Carter, has been arrested in the UK but US prosecutors are seeking his extradition.
He faces three charges: conspiracy to evade U.S. sanctions; violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act; and wire fraud.
The maximum sentence for each person may be 20 years.
Mr Bonham Carter appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court following an extradition request and has been granted conditional bail, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
“Bonham-Carter is believed to be associated with Deripaska through a number of high-value properties in the US and UK – all of which were ultimately suspected of being held for Deripaska’s benefit,” the NCA said in a statement.
Mr Deripaska, who founded aluminum company Rusal, was also charged last month along with three others of violating new U.S. sanctions on Russia’s war with Ukraine.
The charges include hiring a woman to sell a California music studio on his behalf and trying to get his girlfriend to travel to the United States to give birth to his child.
All of Mr Deripaska’s assets in the UK have been frozen, as have two accounts held by Mr Bonham-Carter, suspected of being used to launder money for the billionaire.
Protesters in March Occupy a house in central London They said it belonged to Mr Deripaska. However, he claimed it was owned by a family member, not him.
Western countries have imposed a series of sanctions on wealthy and influential figures suspected of being close to the Russian president Vladimir Putinregime with a view to exerting pressure on it Ukraine invasion.