U.S. citizen tied to Russian oligarch charged with violating Crimea sanctions

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March 4 (UPI) — A U.S. citizen who worked as a television producer for Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev has been charged with violating sanctions.

Jack Hanick, 71, was arrested in London last month and has been indicted by a grand jury in a U.S. District Court in New York with violating sanctions placed on Malofeyev in December 2014 after Russia invaded Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea, the Justice Department said in a statement Thursday.

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Former President Barack Obama had imposed the sanctions on “individuals determined to be responsible for or complicit in, or who, engage in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the indictment reads.

The grand jury noted that those sanctions have remained in effect since 2014 and were continued last year by President Joe Biden.

“Malofeyev was one of the main sources of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea,” the indictment reads.

Hanick allegedly worked with Malofeyev from 2013 to 2017 as the Russian businessman began planning to create a new Russian cable television news network as well as a news network in Greece.

He also allegedly flew to Bulgaria to arrange the purchase of another news outlet for Malofeyev, while taking steps to conceal Malofeyev’s role in the acquisition, prosecutors said. Hanick, who was interviewed by the FBI last year, allegedly made false statements that Malofeyev was not involved in his Bulgaria trip and that he didn’t know that Malofeyev was connected to the acquisition of the Bulgarian television network.

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Some of the evidence against Hanick came from an unpublished memoir obtained through a search warrant as well as emails between Hanick and Malofeyev.

In one email to Malofeyev, Hanick allegedly wrote that the Greek network was an “opportunity to detail Russia’s point of view on Greek TV” and emphasized “our vision of cooperation.”

In another, he allegedly told Malofeyev that the Russian network’s board members “have the responsibility to direct the staff to implement your instructions.”

Prosecutors said that Hanick regularly traveled to Russia before moving there in July 2013 and directly reported to Malofeyev, personally negotiating his salary and visa arrangements.

Hanick, who Bloomberg News reported is a former Fox News producer, faces up to 25 years in prison for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and making false statements to the FBI.