US v. Teyf: Alleged Russian Kickback Scheme, Money Laundering, False Tax Returns, and FBAR Violations

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US v. Teyf: Alleged Russian Kickback Scheme, Money Laundering, False Tax Returns, and FBAR Violations

In 2018, the United States indicted U.S. resident Leonid Teyf on charges stemming from laundering of money stolen from the Russian government in an illegal kickback scheme, attempted bribery of a United States government official, attempted hiring of a hitman, and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.[1] Last year, in a superseding indictment, the government further alleged that Teyf made false statements on tax returns, failed to report interest in foreign accounts, and committed visa fraud.[2]  Trial (of several counts, at least) is currently set for July of 2020.

While Deputy Director of Voentorg, a company headquartered in Russia, Teyf allegedly acquired contracts from the Russian government for Voentorg, then arranged for Voentorg’s subcontractors to pay him kickbacks from the government funds awarded for completion of the work.[3] Teyf allegedly accumulated some $150,000,000 through this scheme. He and his wife, codefendant Tatyana Teyf, further allegedly wired $39,415,000 of this money to accounts in the United States and in other countries known for being used for money laundering.[4] These transactions, if as alleged, violated anti-money laundering provisions of 18 U.S.C. 1956-57.

The government maintains that while in possession of Russian financial accounts, Teyf filed several United States tax returns stating, under penalty of perjury, that he did not have any interest in reportable foreign accounts.[5] Teyf further failed to file FinCen Form 114 (FBAR) to report his interest in his Russian accounts.[6] These failures, if true, would constitute violations of  26 U.S.C. 7206(1) and several provisions of U.S.C. Chapter 31 relating to failure to file reports relating to relationships and transactions with foreign financial agencies and accounts.[7]

Teyf filed a motion to dismiss the counts of the fourth superseding indictment relating to money laundering on the grounds that the indictment did not specifically allege which Russian laws were violated; thus, the indictment did not put Teyf on adequate notice.[8] The district court found that the indictment must (1) “contain[] the elements of the offense charged and fairly inform[] [the] defendant of the charge,” and (2) “enable[] him to plead an acquittal or conviction in bar of future prosecutions for the same offense.”[9] Since the “core of money laundering” is “the laundering transaction itself,” and not how the money was illegally derived, the court explained, a “categorical delineation” of the type of funds subject to laundering (i.e., funds derived illegally through bribery or theft) was sufficient to allege money laundering.[10]The indictment’s incorporation of the facts detailing Teyf’s kickback scheme sufficiently put Teyf on notice of the charges being brought against him it further found.[11] Thus, the court denied Teyf’s motion to strike.[12]

Freeman Law will continue to provide coverage of the case as several counts are set for trial in July 2020.


[1] See generally Indictment, United States v. Leonid Isaakovich Teyf, et al., No. 518-CR-00452-FL(3) (E.D.N.C. Nov. 8, 2018).

[2] See Fourth Superseding Indictment United States v. Leonid Isaakovich Teyf, et al., No. 518-CR-00452-FL(3) (E.D.N.C. May 9, 2019).

[3] Id. at 3.

[4] Id. at 4.

[5] Id. at 25-26.

[6] Id. at 26.

[7] Id. at 27.

[8] United States v. Teyf et al., 2020 WL 598660 at *1 (E.D.N.C. Feb. 6, 2020).

[9] Id. at *2.

[10] Id. at *2-*3.

[11] Id. at *3-*4.

[12] Id. at *5.


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