Russian national living in US gets 5 years in bribery case

U.S. & World

NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — A Russian national living in North Carolina who had been accused by authorities of involvement in a $150 million kickback scheme while working for a Russian military contractor was hand a five-year prison sentence Friday after his earlier guilty plea on unrelated bribery and visa fraud charges.

Leonid Teyf, 59, of Raleigh, and his wife, Tatiana, 43, also will forfeit nearly $6 million in assets, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Leonid Teyf will be deported after he completes his sentence, authorities said.

Teyf pleaded guilty in Marchto offering a $10,000 bribe to an employee of the Department of Homeland Security in 2018 to cause the deportation of a man who he thought was having an affair with Tatiana. He also pleaded guilty to making a false claim on a visa application in 2018 and falsely denying overseas financial interests on his 2012 tax return.

Prosecutors had said Teyf and his wife lived in luxury in a gated golf-course community until he was indicted in December 2018. Teyf and his wife had luxury cars, expensive artwork and a 17,000-square foot (1,600-square-meter) house tended by housekeepers, according to court documents.

Prosecutors also had said Teyf used his position as an executive with a Russian military supplier between 2010 and 2012 to extract kickbacks from subcontractors seeking to do business with Russia’s armed forces.

Teyf thwarted a Russian government probe into the kickback scheme by bribing the investigators, prosecutors had said.

Prosecutors had alleged that Teyf and his ex-wife, along with others, opened several financial accounts at four U.S. financial institutions that received almost $40 million from the alleged money laundering scheme.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop all other charges against Teyf alleged in a 50-count indictment, including money laundering charges related to the alleged kickback scheme, and allegations of harboring illegal aliens and attempting to arrange the murder of the man whom he suspected of having an affair with his wife. Prosecutors also agreed to seek a prison term of just five years.

“We achieved a tremendous victory for Mr. Teyf with this successful resolution of his case,” said his attorney, Robert Wolf. “Mr. Teyf won the dismissal of all 37 money laundering charges, dismissal of the murder for hire charge and the dismissal of most of the other charges against him, all of which comprised the government’s main case against him.”

Wolf also said Teyf retained the vast majority of his previously seized assets which will be returned to him by the government. He said the government also withdrew its claims against his client’s real estate properties, all of which will be returned. With credit for time already served, Wolf said, Teyf only has to serve approximately 18 months.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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