Cousin of Helena Bonham-Carter charged for allegedly helping oligarch Oleg Deripaska evade US sanctions
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A British businessman faces up to 60 years in prison after being charged with helping a Russian oligarch evade US-imposed sanctions.
The US government is seeking the extradition of Graham Bonham-Carter who is accused of engaging in more than $1m (£900,000) worth of illicit transactions to fund properties purchased by Oleg Deripaska.
Bonham-Carter was arrested on Tuesday (October 11) and is also charged with unlawfully moving his artwork out of America, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said.
Deripaska, an industrialist believed to be worth more than $2bn (£1.79bn), was sanctioned by the US in 2018 for his alleged pro-Kremlin links.
Bonham-Carter, the second cousin of Islington-born actress Helena, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court following an extradition request and was later released on conditional bail.
The London-based 62-year-old faces three US charges including one count of conspiring to violate and evade US sanctions, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), one count of violating IEEPA and one count wire fraud with each charge carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
In a statement US prosecutors say Bonham-Carter was instructed by Deripaska to set up a company, Gracetown Inc, for managing high-value properties in New York and Washington DC for “Deripaska’s benefit”.
The indictment also states Bonham-Carter tried to transfer valuable artwork from an unnamed New York City auction house to London “through misrepresentations concealing Deripaska’s ownership of the artwork”.
A house on Belgrave Square, Belgravia, linked to the 54-year-old was temporarily occupied by squatters earlier this year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, despite Deripaska claiming the house was owned by family members.
In March Deripaska became one of seven oligarchs sanctioned by the UK government with two London properties among a list of assets frozen by the sanctions designation.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) say those properties include a mansion in Belgrave Square and a private office in Cleveland Row next to St James’s Palace, estimated to be collectively worth more than £50m.
Bonham-Carter also had his bank accounts frozen for six months in March this year after it was alleged his accounts contained money linked to Deripaska.
Two account freezing orders were obtained by the NCA as it was suspected money in the accounts, approximately £110,000, was derived from the laundering of funds belonging to Deripaska.