Justice Department Seeks Forfeiture of Two Commercial Properties Purchased with Funds Misappropriated from PrivatBank in Ukraine

justice.gov

The United States filed two civil forfeiture complaints today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that commercial real estate in Louisville, Kentucky, and Dallas, Texas, both acquired using funds misappropriated from PrivatBank in Ukraine, are subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office made the announcement.

The complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars.  The two obtained fraudulent loans and lines of credit from approximately 2008 through 2016, when the scheme was uncovered, and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine.  The complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States.  As alleged in the complaint, the loans were rarely repaid except with more fraudulently obtained loan proceeds.

As alleged in the Complaints, in the United States, associates of Kolomoisky and Bogoliubov, Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber, operating out of offices in Miami, created a web of entities, usually under some variation of the name “Optima,” to further launder the misappropriated funds and invest them.  They purchased hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and businesses across the country, including the properties subject to forfeiture: the Louisville office tower known as PNC Plaza, and the Dallas office park known as the former CompuCom Headquarters.  The buildings have a combined value of approximately $70 million.

A complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

FBI’s Cleveland Division is investigating the case with support from FBI’s International Corruption Unit, IRS Criminal Investigation, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  International Unit Chief Mary K. Butler, Senior Trial Attorney Michael C. Olmsted, Trial Attorneys Shai D. Bronshtein and Peter Steciuk, and Law Clerk Robert Blaney of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rosen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the cases.  The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs has provided substantial assistance in the investigation.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, and often with U.S. Attorney’s Offices, to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office.  In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption.  Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to kleptocracy@usdoj.gov (link sends e-mail) or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-seeks-forfeiture-two-commercial-properties-purchased-funds-misappropriated

Please Help Get Justice For These Victims!

“Angels” wear fur coats and walk on four legs 😇

Operation Legend Expanded to Memphis and St. Louis

justice.gov

Today, the expansion of Operation Legend was announced in Memphis and St. Louis. Operation Legend is a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime. The Operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, MO., and expanded on July 22, 2020, to Chicago and Albuquerque, and to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee on July 29, 2020.

Operation Legend is named in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. 

“The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Memphis and St. Louis, two cities experiencing increases in violent crime that no resident of those cities should have to accept as part of everyday life. For decades, the Department of Justice has achieved significant success when utilizing our anti-violent crime task forces and federal law enforcement agents to enforce federal law and assist American cities that are experiencing upticks in violent crime. The Department of Justice’s assets will supplement local law enforcement efforts, as we work together to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets.”

As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General Barr directed the ATF, FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service to significantly increase resources into Memphis and St. Louis in the coming weeks to help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence. 

Memphis is currently experiencing a significant increase in violent crime, with homicides currently up more than 49 percent, reported gun crime up 23 percent, and aggravated assault shootings up over 19 percent over 2019. Similarly, homicides are up in St. Louis nearly 34 percent and non-fatal shootings are up over 13 percent.

In Memphis, the Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending 16 federal investigators to the city on temporary assignment for 90 days, followed by 24 permanent agent assignments from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and Homeland Security Investigations. Under the leadership of Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, these investigators will complement the work already underway by existing joint federal, state and local task forces focused on combatting violent gangs, gun crime, and drug trafficking organizations. 

The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $200,000 to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Memphis in addition to the prior BJA grant funding award of $1.4 million to Shelby County to provide manpower, technology, equipment, and support for the sustained efforts Legend Task Force, including overtime funding for the Multi-Agency Gang Unit (MGU) and partner agency officers; a prosecutor for the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office to handle operation arrests vertically through the state criminal justice system to ensure that arrests are followed by strategic prosecution; vehicles for MGU operations; and technological solutions to enhance investigation and prosecution of violent offenders.

The COPS Office has also made approximately $9.8 million available to the Memphis Police Department to fund the hiring of 50 officers.

The Department has also provided assistance to Memphis through the Joint Law Enforcement Operations (JLEO) fund to assist reimbursement of local law enforcement serving as federal task force officers with FBI, ATF, DEA, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The city will receive $100,000 from ATF to help local agencies defray costs associated with installing or maintaining shot detection technology.

In St. Louis, under the leadership of Jeffrey Jensen, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, federal agents from ATF, DEA, FBI, and USMS, along with approximately 50 additional agents from Department of Homeland Security, will work cooperatively with the St. Louis Police Department to combat gun and gang violence, as well as assist the U.S. Marshals Service in violent fugitive apprehension efforts.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $1 million to support local law enforcement in shot spotter responses and violent crime investigations in St. Louis. With Department of Justice funding, the city is also receiving two Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office to support violent crime prosecutions.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/operation-legend-expanded-memphis-and-st-louis

STOP EXTRACTION IN THE AMAZON

amazonfrontlines.org

Amazon Frontlines

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Indigenous peoples have called for the suspension of all resource extraction in the Amazon.

Big oil, mining, logging and other extractive industries helped the virus spread into Indigenous territories, making people sick and killing their elders. For too long heads of state have listened to corporations rather than to Indigenous communities, which has led to loss of biodiversity, runaway climate change, raging fires, and now extreme illness. In the face of multiple crises, leaders have failed to act.

Right now in Ecuador, two of the Amazon’s most precarious oil pipelines are on the brink of rupture for the second time this year. A spill could happen any day due to unaddressed erosion, sending contamination downriver into Peru and Brazil. Why are they still pumping? Where is the justice for Indigenous communities whose rivers and soils were poisoned? Every avoidable disaster caused by extraction is another blow to the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous peoples, and our climate.

You can see the power of the Indigenous movement in recent groundbreaking wins across the world— from the victory at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Waorani victory against oil drilling in the Pastaza region of Ecuador. However, governments and corporations are continuing to exploit the world’s resources at alarming rates with great risk to Indigenous peoples.

Around the world, Indigenous movements are fighting back and winning. From Standing Rock, USA to Pastaza, Ecuador, Indigenous peoples are demonstrating their resilience and power to confront injustice and protect their ancestral lands.

Today I stand with the Indigenous movement in calling for immediate action to shut off the hazardous oil pipelines in Ecuador and suspend extraction across the Amazon until safety is restored and justice is served.

SIGN PETITION 👇

https://www.amazonfrontlines.org/amazon-extraction/public/action

This explains why dolphins are so much smarter than humans 🐬

Don’t mess with mother nature on sea or land 🌀