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US authorities eye seizure New York luxury properties used in money laundering

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September 14
5:00 AM 2013

US authorities eyed the confiscation of pricey real estate properties in New York that were supposedly used for money laundering. US regulators said the proceeds to get luxury apartments and other pieces of real estate were the product of a USD 230 million tax fraud in Russia. The complaint filed by US authorities revealed that a Russian organization stole corporate identities off an investment fund in Russia. These identities, belonging to the Hermitage Fund, were then used to make bogus tax refund claims.

US Attorney Preet Bharara said, "While New York is a world financial capital, it is not a safe haven for criminals seeking to hide their loot, no matter how and where their fraud took place."

The fraudulent scheme was uncovered in Russia by a lawyer named Sergei Magnitsky after Hermitage asked him to conduct the investigation. Retaliatory criminal proceedings were filed against Magnitsky after he implicated Russian officials in the scheme. He died in 2009 in a Russian jail while awaiting trial.

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