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DOJ Charges Television Producer for Violating Crimea-Related Sanctions Program

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern Direct of New York recently announced the indictment of Jack Hanick, a United States citizen, of violating the U.S. sanctions against Russia and false statements in connection with his work for a sanctioned oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev.

Hanick is a television producer ad worked with Malofeyev, a Specially Designated National (“SDN”) designated under the Crimea Sanctions Program adopted in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.  Hanick violated the sanctions by working directly for Malofeyev on multiple television projects over several years. Hanick admitted, in an interview with FBI agents, that he knew Malofeyev was a prohibited person.

Under the Crimea Sanctions Program, President Obama blocked all property and interest in property of any U.S. person who were complicit in threatening the stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine.  Malofeyev was designated as an SDN on December 19, 2014 since he was one of the main sources of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea, and in particular the Donetsk separatist organization in the Ukraine region of Donetsk.

From 2013 to 2017, Hanick worked directly for Malofeyev.  Starting in 2013, Malofeyev planned to create a new Russian cable television news network, The Russian TV Network, amd Hancik traveled several times to Russia to meet Malofeyev to work on this project.  Hanick entered into an employment agreement directly with Malofeyev, which included a salary, payment for his housing in Moscow and securing a Russian work visa.

Hanick continued to work for and report directly to Malofeyev after OFAC designated Malofeyev as an SDN in December 2014.  For example, in January 2015, Hanick sent an email to Malofeyev including a draft policy for the Russian TV Network, explaining that the policy was “to implement your vision and provide you with information for you to make decisions . . .  You are the founder and chief architect of the project.  We, as board members have the responsibility to direct the staff to implement your instructions.”

The Russian TV Network went on the air in Russia in April 2015.  Hanick played a leadership role at the network, and was referred to as “Board Chairman,” and “General Producer” during the period of 2015 to 2017.  Hanick reported directly to Malofeyev regarding the network’s operations and was included in organizational; charts directly below Malofeyev. 

Hanick was paid for his work through two Russian entities, but his compensation was set by Malofeyev and was for his services provided to Malofeyev’s network.  Hanick wired a portionof the payments he received to a New York bank account.

Hanick also worked for Malofeyev on a project to establish a Greek television network and on a plan to acquire a Bulgarian television network.  In furtherance of these projects, Hanick traveled to Greece and Bulgaria in 2015 and 2016 and reported back to Malofeyev.  In a specific report, Hanick worte Malofeyev that the Greek television network would be “opportunity to detail Russia’s point of view on Greek TV.”  Hanick took steps to disguise Malofeyev’s role in the acquisition of the Bulgarian television network.

In February 2021, FBI agents interviewed Hanick about his work for Malofeyev, and Hanick made false statements aabout his work for Malofeyev, including the false claim that Malofeyev had no connection or involvement in the attempted purchase of the Bulgarian television network.

Hanick was arrested in London on February 3, 2022 and is currently in extradition proceedings.

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