(Bloomberg) -- A New York lawyer who helped manage luxury properties in Manhattan and the Hamptons for sanctioned Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg avoided jail for money laundering.
Robert Wise was sentenced Monday to a year of home detention by US District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil in Manhattan, followed by a year of probation. The government hadn’t asked for jail time for Wise, noting the 83-year-old’s several health problems. He appeared at the hearing in a wheelchair pushed by his son.
Wise, of Pelham, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering in April, admitting that he facilitated almost $4 million in payments for taxes and insurance on six homes in New York and Florida owned by Vekselberg worth a total about $75 million.
The properties included a nine-bedroom, 11-bathroom spread on Duck Pond Lane in Southampton, New York, and a four-bedroom Park Avenue apartment. Vekselberg acquired them through a series of shell companies between 2008 and 2017, before he was sanctioned in 2018.
Vekselberg was part of a group of oligarchs, including Oleg Deripaska, sanctioned by the Treasury Department at the time over Russia’s “malign activities,” including its occupation of Crimea and its interference in the 2016 election.
Wise was hired to manage the properties by Viktor Voronchenko, a childhood friend of Vekselberg. Though he had suspicions, Wise said he consciously avoided learning who the beneficial owner of the properties was.
“That was the worst mistake I ever made in my years of practice and was the worst decision of my life,” Wise said to the judge.
Voronchenko was charged in February with conspiring to make payments to maintain four of the oligarch’s properties and trying to sell two of them. He is not in custody.
The case is US v Voronchenko, 23-cr-73, US District Court, Southern District of New York.
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