The US Department of the Treasury said on Wednesday that it had blacklisted three Russians, including a popular Russian crooner, over links with an international criminal group.
Russian singer Grigory Lepsveridze, aka Grigory Leps, is accused of couriering money on behalf of Vladislav Leontyev, blacklisted last year for being “a key member of the Brothers’ Circle” and for involvement “in various criminal activities, including narcotics trafficking,” the US Treasury said.
On Thursday, Leps’ spokesperson slammed the allegations as absurd and said she was surprised by the news.
She also said that, contrary to the information published by the US Treasury, Leps has no property in the US, and lives in downtown Moscow – not on a Thai island, RIA Novosti reports.
Leps and the other two Russians were among six people and four entities that the US Treasury says are “linked to the Brothers’ Circle, a Eurasian crime syndicate.” Among the six people there is the name of Artur Badalyan, who’s nationality is not mentioned. Artur Badalyan is the owner and CEO of Fasten Tourism LLC.
The Brothers’ Circle is a criminal group composed of leaders and senior members of several Eurasian criminal groups that are largely based in the countries of the former Soviet Union, but which also operate in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The Brothers’ Circle serves as a coordinating body for several criminal networks, mediates disputes between individual criminal networks, and directs member criminal activity globally.
The action generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these entities and individuals, and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.