Money-Laundering, Russian Style

Several close aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin are now the target of a U.S. Justice Department probe into an elaborate money-laundering scheme involving the U.S. financial system, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

One part of the investigation is looking at transactions processed through a Geneva-based commodities firm, the Gunvor Group, co-founded by Gennady Timchenko, purchased oil from Russia’s OAO Rosneft and later sold it to third parties, with the Journal referring to the moves “as allegedly corrupt.” The “transfers of funds related to the transactions could constitute illegal money laundering if the funds were found to have originated from illicit activity such as, for example, irregular sales of state assets like oil,” the story noted.

The probe is also examining whether any of Mr. Putin’s personal wealth is connected to allegedly illicit funds, one person said. U.S. officials have previously said that Mr. Putin has investments in Gunvor, the story said.

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