Billionaire Russian oligarch spent thousands to ensure US birth for child

US Treasury slaps sanctions on businessman with 'cosy ties to the Kremlin' who tried to game American healthcare and benefits system

Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin outside St Petersburg, Russia. AP
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A Russian billionaire and three others were criminally charged in New York with violating US sanctions in a scheme to ensure his child was born in the US, an indictment unsealed on Thursday showed.

Oligarch Oleg Deripaska has faced other economic sanctions since 2018, when the US Treasury Department accused him of acting for or on behalf of a senior Russian official and operating in the energy sector of the Russian economy.

Andrew Adams, a Manhattan federal prosecutor who heads a task force pursuing crimes by Russian oligarchs, said in a release that Mr Deripaska had lied and evaded US sanctions as he sought to benefit from life in America, “despite his cosy ties with the Kremlin and his vast wealth acquired through ties to a corrupt regime”.

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“The hypocrisy in seeking comfort and citizenship in the United States while enjoying the fruits of a ruthless, anti-democratic regime is striking,” Mr Adams said.

“That Deripaska practised that hypocrisy through lies and criminal sanctions evasion has made him a fugitive from the country he so desperately wished to exploit.”

Only one of the four charged in the indictment — Olga Shriki of New Jersey — is in custody.

Ms Shriki was charged in part with trying to help another woman charged in the case — Ekaterina Olegovna Voronina — to get into the US to give birth to Mr Deripaska’s child.

Authorities said Mr Deripaska spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it possible for his child to be born in the US so the child could take advantage of the US healthcare system and the benefits of a US birthright. The child, upon birth, received US citizenship.

Following the birth, Mr Deripaska's alleged co-conspirators worked to conceal the name of the child’s true father by slightly misspelling the child’s last name, the indictment said.

The indictment said that Mr Deripaska is the owner and controller of Basic Element Limited, a private investment and management company used to advance his various business interests.

IT included demands that Mr Deripaska and his alleged co-conspirators forfeit assets in the US, including a Washington property and two Manhattan properties.

Updated: September 29, 2022, 7:46 PM