U.S. Seeks Forfeiture of Manhattan Real Estate Tied to Fraud

New York Times

Federal authorities announced on Tuesday that they were seeking forfeiture of expensive Manhattan real estate tied to a fraud that they say was uncovered by a whistle-blowing Russian lawyer before he died behind bars.

A civil forfeiture complaint filed against the assets of a Cyprus-based real estate corporation and other holding companies contends that some of the proceeds from a $230 million tax fraud in Russia were laundered through the purchase of four luxury condominiums in a Wall Street doorman building, where apartments can sell for more than $3 million, and two commercial spaces in prime locations in Midtown and Chelsea.

“Today’s forfeiture action is a significant step toward uncovering and unwinding a complex money-laundering scheme arising from a notorious foreign fraud,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement. “While New York is a world financial capital, it is not a safe haven for criminals seeking to hide their loot, no matter how and where their fraud took place.”

The whistle-blower, Sergei Magnitsky, was a lawyer for the British investor William Browder, who was born in the United States. Mr. Magnitsky said in 2008 that organized criminals colluded with corrupt Russian Interior Ministry officials to fraudulently claim a $230 million tax rebate after illegally seizing subsidiaries of Mr. Browder’s Hermitage Capital investment company.

Mr. Magnitsky subsequently was arrested on tax evasion charges and died in prison in November 2009 from untreated pancreatitis at age 37. His death prompted widespread criticism from human rights activists, and the Russian presidential human rights council found in 2011 that he had been beaten and deliberately denied medical treatment.

Mr. Browder, who has campaigned to bring those responsible for Mr. Magnitsky’s death to justice, accused one of the Russian tax officials of buying luxury real estate in Montenegro, Moscow and Dubai worth $39 million and wiring money through her husband’s bank accounts.

“This is a dramatic escalation in the fight to hold accountable the people who killed Sergei Magnitsky,” Mr. Browder said on Tuesday in response to the forfeiture action. “Since the Russian government has tried to cover up Sergei Magnitsky’s murder, the only chance for justice has been outside of Russia.”

The United States announced in April that, under a 2012 law named for Mr. Magnitsky, it was imposing penalties on 18 Russians accused of human rights violations. The Magnitsky Act infuriated the Kremlin, and the Russian parliament quickly passed a retaliatory measure that banned Americans from adopting Russian children. займы на карту без отказа займ на карту без отказов круглосуточно https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-cash-advances.php https://zp-pdl.com/apply-for-payday-loan-online.php unshaven girls

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