Why Russian tycoon Oleg Vladimirovich’s trip to Kenya haunts King Charles’ relative

by MMC
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In February 2021, Ms. Alexandra “Lexi” Bowes-Lyon, a British socialite based in New York and close to King Charles, organized an ill-prescient Kenyan tour for Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska who now comes back to haunt her at the risk of even being imprisoned.

Mr. Deripaska alias Oleg Mukhamedshin is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and during his trip to Kenya, the US Treasury Department had blacklisted him. He was blacklisted in 2018, making it illegal for any US person to do business with him.

Mrs. Alexandra “Lexi” Bowes-Lyon is a New York-based British socialite whose father is the King’s third cousin.

Mr. Deripaska, whom the United States has linked to the Kremlin, flew three times from Moscow to Nairobi in his private jet “before boarding a plane rented by the charity and owned by Michael Spencer, the billionaire former Conservative Party treasurer who sits in the House of Lords under the name Lord Spencer. of Alresford,” International Media reported mid-last week.

Already, Space for Giants, a company of which Ms. Bowes-Lyon does not deny knowledge, has declared Nation.Africa that he was then their guest.

The Western country also claims that Mr. Deripaska, an industrialist, illegally used the American financial system to finance real estate projects he owned with the help of two women; Ms. Olga Shriki who, at the time the crime was committed, was based in the United States and Ms. Natalia Bardakova, who was based in Russia.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Deripaska was designated for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a high-ranking official of the government of the Russian Federation.

“Deripaska declared that he was not separating himself from the Russian state. He also admitted to possessing a Russian diplomatic passport and claims to have represented the Russian government in other countries,” read a statement from the US department.

The statement further revealed that he had been investigated for money laundering and was also accused of threatening the lives of business competitors, illegally wiretapping a government official and having participated in acts of extortion and racketeering.

“There are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman and had ties to a Russian organized crime group,” the statement added.

Ms. Bowes-Lyon is director of Space for Giants USA, an organization launched in Kenya in 2011 whose mission is to protect Africa’s remaining natural ecosystems and large wild animals.

“We help protect Africa’s remaining natural ecosystems and the large wild animals they support while providing major social and economic value to local communities and national governments,” its website reads in part .

Upon arriving in Kenya where he spent three days touring the region, Mr. Deripaska was welcomed to the lavish Suyian Ranch by the organization’s CEO, Dr. Max Graham and Ms. Bowes-Lyon. The Russian national was then accompanied by a bodyguard and two other people.

While in the country, the duo tried to convince him to buy a ranch in Laikipia, but Mr. Deripaska refused the offer.

Nation.Africa contacted Space for Giants for comment on the allegations raised and responded by saying that Mr Deripaska’s trip to Kenya took place two and a half years ago and that the company had ended its relationship with him in 2021.

Space for Giants also said that two years before it was sanctioned by the UK in 2022, they accepted a donation from it.

“Two years before Mr. Deripaska was sanctioned by the United Kingdom IN 2022, a branch of Space for Giants UK accepted a donation from him,” the company said in its response.

He also denied allegations that Mr. Deripaska, during his visit to Kenya, did not make any donations to any Space for Giants entity nor did he purchase a ranch.

The organization also confirmed that an investigation did indeed take place in the United States in 2021 and that it cooperated fully.

According to the organization, the investigations focused on Mr. Deripaska and not on the activities he carried out.

“Indeed, US authorities have confirmed that Space for Giants was at no time the subject of an investigation, but was a cooperating witness. We are unable to comment on whether the US investigation is ongoing,” Space for Giants said.

The organization also said it has reviewed and updated all of its internal governance policies, including our gift acceptance policy.

It should be noted that since the United States sanctioned Mr. Deripaska, a number of American nationals have been investigated for their interactions with him.

On October 20, 2021, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), based on court warrants, searched two homes located in Washington and New York linked to him.

At the time, the United States was examining his relationship with Mr Paul Manafort, campaign manager of former US President Donald Trump, after it emerged that Mr Deripaska had given him a $1.4 billion loan. of shillings.

Hestia International, in Delaware, is a state known as a tax haven and was listed as the owner of both properties.

On Monday last week, the United States Department of Justice indicted a former senior FBI official, Mr. Charles McGonigal, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and of money laundering as part of an agreement under which he was to provide services. to Mr. Deripaska.

“In 2021, McGonigal conspired to provide services to Mr. Deripaska, in violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018. Specifically, following his negotiations with an agent of Mr. Deripaska, Mr. McGonigal agreed and investigated a rival Russian oligarch in exchange for hidden payments from Mr. Deripaska,” a Justice Department statement read in part.

The ministry further revealed that Mr. McGonigal agreed to conceal Mr. Deripaska’s involvement by ensuring that it did not name him in electronic communications. He should use shell companies as counterparties in the contract describing the services to be performed, using a false signature on this contract. , and using the same front companies to send and receive payments from Deripaska.

The department said Mr. McGonigal pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Jennifer H. Rearden. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the IEEPA and money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Sentencing will be pronounced by Judge Rearden on December 14, 2023, the ministry said.

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