Prevezon Holdings

Preet Bharara
Preet Bharara

On September 10, 2013, US Attorney Preet Bharara announced a complaint being filed for civil asset forfeiture of many high-end real estate properties owned by several New York corporations, including Prevezon Holdings, Ltd. The complaint alleged the corporations engaged in a money laundering and tax fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials, as revealed by Sergei Magnitsky. Source

In addition to the civil suit, at the same time, a criminal investigation was opened into possible money laundering, moving out of Russia proceeds from the Hermitage Capital scheme that Magnitsky uncovered. Investigators have sent requests for evidence to Switzerland, Latvia, and Cyprus, and prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS, and TD Bank. Source

Prevezon’s owner Denis Katsyv, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Putin, hired attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, who would become active lobbying US politicians to remove the sanctions relating to the Magnitsky Act. Source Veselnitskaya was a key party to the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, conducted for the purpose of Veselnitskaya delivering intelligence from the Russian government to the Trump campaign to assist Trump in his race against Hillary Clinton.

In early 2017, Prevezon hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to represent them for negotiating settlement of the civil lawsuit. Source

On March 10, 2017, the Trump administration abruptly fired 46 US Attorneys, including Preet Bharara, the US Attorney in New York. Source

On May 12, 2017, the US Department of Justice abruptly settled for $6 million their civil lawsuit against Prevezon and other corporations, formerly being led by Preet Bharara, relating to the alleged money laundering and tax fraud scheme revealed by Sergei Magnitsky. The Russian attorneys representing the defendants, including Natalia Veselnitskaya, expressed surprise and characterized the settlement as an “apology” from the US. Source

Although the terms of the settlement required payment by October 31, 2017, Prevezon missed their deadline. On November 16, 2017, US Attorney Joon Kim filed a memorandum with the court seeking to compel Prevezon’s payment. Source

The criminal probe into the laundering allegations continues. Source