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The first Russian oligarchy accused in the United States of violating sanctions | Abroad

“After US approval, Malofeev sought to circumvent sanctions by using conspirators to covertly acquire and operate the media throughout Europe,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The Russian businessman was one of the so-called Russian oligarchs in early March who were banned for their continued support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and for his “brutal” invasion of Ukraine. According to Garland, Malofeev was previously identified as providing financial assistance to Russians who were promoting separatism in the Crimea and supporting the independence of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.

Hijacked computers

Garland also announced a “ban” on global botnets controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU. Botnets are networks of hijacked computers used to carry out various scams and cyber attacks. Botnet can also be used to spread false information.

“The Russian government has recently used a similar infrastructure to attack Ukrainian targets,” he said. “Fortunately, we were able to disable it before using this botnet.”

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