Money laundering conspiracy & sanctions screening evasions
John C. Unsalan, the president of Metalhouse LLC, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering involving sanctions screening evasion. Unsalan formed Metalhouse LLC, a trading company that trades steel products and raw materials, in Florida in 2014. Unsalan has conducted transactions that acquire over $150 million in metal products. The steel company president completed these transactions through companies owned by Sergey Kurchenko, a sanctioned oligarch.
The Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Kurchenko for purportedly misusing funds that are the property of Ukraine. Kurchenko has been on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons List. Engaging in business transactions with individuals or entities listed on the SDN List is typically prohibited for U.S. individuals or entities. The U.S. government may grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
The plea agreement
According to the plea agreement between 2018 and 2021, Unsalan enabled transactions via Metalhouse with two shell companies. Kurchenko controlled both shell companies, one formed in Hong Kong and the other in Cyprus.
Unsalan and a colleague from Metalhouse met with Kurchenko and then entered into contracts with Kurchenko’s firms. The overall purpose of their deals was to purchase steel and other raw materials. They made payments for these materials from offshore bank accounts. In the end, Unsalan and Metalhouse earned over $160 million by reselling these materials to other parties. Many of these earnings were directed towards Kurchenko for further raw material purchases. The plea agreement’s supporting evidence also suggested that Unsalan retained millions in profits for his benefit.
According to the Department of Justice, Unsalan’s offense carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Unsalan has also consented to forfeit $160,416,948.56 in illicitly acquired proceeds from the conspiracy. As part of the plea arrangement between Unsalan and the United States, the remaining charges in the indictment were agreed to be dropped. The ultimate sentencing will be determined by a federal district court judge, who will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other legal factors.
How Truth Technologies can help:
Sanctions screening can help with sanctions by identifying and preventing transactions or interactions with individuals, entities, or countries subject to sanctions. Truth Technologies ‘provides software that helps organizations adhere to sanctions regulations and requirements by automating and streamlining various compliance processes, including sanctions screening. Contact us today for a free demo and see how we can help identify at-risk countries and which organizations or individuals may be associated with those countries.
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