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Russian agent bought Beverly Hills condos, violating sanctions: US prosecutors

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An alleged Russian intelligence agent was charged with violating US sanctions and money laundering by purchasing two condominiums in Beverly Hills, California, and concealing his involvement, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said on Wednesday.

Andrii Derkach, who is at large, was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in September 2020 for being an active Russian agent for over a decade and for assisting the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 US election.

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The indictment unsealed on Wednesday said that since 2013 Derkach has used overseas accounts in Latvia and Switzerland belonging to companies registered in the British Virgin Islands to pay for the purchase and maintenance of the properties.

Derkach has previously denied wrongdoing and said he has been targeted for exposing corruption.

He could not immediately be reached for comment.

The charges come as the US Department of Justice seeks to use criminal charges and asset seizures targeting wealthy and powerful individuals linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin to pressure Moscow to halt its invasion of Ukraine.

“The conduct of this Kremlin asset, who was sanctioned for trying to poison our democracy, has shown he is ready, willing, and capable of exploiting (the) banking system in order to advance his illicit goals,” Breon Peace, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, said in a statement.

The Kremlin calls its activities in Ukraine a “special military operation” and denies interfering in US elections.

Derkach has been a member of Ukraine’s parliament for more than two decades, though Kyiv in 2021 imposed its own sanctions on him.

Ukraine’s main domestic security agency in June said Derkach set up a network of private security firms to support the entry of Russian military units into cities during Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion, citing testimony from a parliamentary aide of his who was arrested at the beginning of the war.

Democrats have said that Derkach was instrumental in a push by allies of former Republican US President Donald Trump to dig up dirt on President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Read more: US blacklists companies for aiding Russian military

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