The FINANCIAL — Sergey Karpushkin, 46, of Miami and a citizen of Belarus, has been arrested and charged by a federal criminal complaint with engaging in a scheme to violate U.S. sanctions against oligarch Sergey Kurchenko and two related companies by purchasing over $150 million in steelmaking materials. Karpushkin’s alleged co-conspirator, John C. Unsalan, 41, of Orlando, was indicted by a federal grand jury for the same scheme on April 12, and was arrested on April 14 on related charges.
According to court documents, Kurchenko was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in 2015 for his role in misappropriating Ukrainian state assets or economically significant entities. The two sanctioned companies – Kompaniya Gaz-Alyans, OOO (Gaz-Alyans), based in the Russian Federation, and ZAO Vneshtorgservis (Vneshtorgservis), based in the unrecognized territory of South Ossetia – were designated by OFAC in 2018 for acting on behalf of and providing material support to the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in the separatist-controlled regions of eastern Ukraine.
The complaint charges Karpushkin with one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The indictment against Unsalan charges him with one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the IEEPA; 10 counts of violating the IEEPA; one count of conspiring to commit international money laundering; and 10 counts of international money laundering. If convicted, Karpushkin and Unsalan each face up to 20 years in federal prison on each count with which they are charged. Unsalan made his initial appearance in federal court on April 17, and has been detained pending further court proceedings. Karpushkin made his initial appearance in federal court this afternoon and was also detained.
The FBI Tampa and Washington Field Offices are investigating the case, with valuable assistance provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, OFAC, and the FBI Miami Field Office.
Trial Attorney Sean O’Dowd of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, Trial Attorney Emma Ellenrieder of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chauncey A. Bratt for the Middle District of Florida, are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
The investigation was coordinated through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls, and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, has imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. Announced by the Attorney General on March 2, 2022, and under the leadership of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the task force will continue to leverage all of the Department’s tools and authorities to combat efforts to evade or undermine the collective actions taken by the U.S. government in response to Russian military aggression.