U.S. Launches Money Laundering Investigation of Putin Ally Timchenko

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Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko is the subject of a money laundering investigation by U.S. prosecutors, the Wall Street Journal said.

Timchenko is a part of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and fell under sanctions imposed by the U.S. in March after Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

Timchenko co-founded Geneva-based Gunvor Group, one of the world’s largest oil traders. Officials are allegedly investigating potential illicit origins of funds used in connection with transactions involving state-owned company Rosneft, which sold oil to Gunvor, which in turn sold it to third parties.

Gunvor has limited exposure within the U.S. According to reports, however, a Delaware-incorporated subsidiary, Castor Americas, was served a subpoena in 2011 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York—who initiated the current Timchenko investigation—for documents related to its oil-trading activities.

Timchenko sold his stake in Gunvor to co-founder Torbjörn Törnqvist one day before sanctions were imposed on him, though the transactions with Rosneft allegedly took place before that.                                                                                                                                                 

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