- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Kremlin accused the U.S. of conducting a money laundering probe into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Dmitry Peskov, Mr. Putin’s press secretary, told reporters Thursday that Moscow was not happy with a U.S. investigation into Gennady Timchenko, a co-founder of the Gunvor trading house, Reuters reported.

Sources told Reuters that Gunvor Group allegedly bought oil from Russia’s Rosneft and sold it to third parties after sanctions were imposed in the wake of Crimea’s annexation.

“What is happening in the various ‘sanction actions’ is hard to explain and very often is aimed directly against Putin. This is yet another example of this — though I don’t know how reliable the information is — this theme when the attacks on Russia focus on the leader of the country, Putin himself,” Mr. Peskov said, Reuters reported.

The U.S. investigation into Mr. Timchenko was reportedly launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Gunvor Group told Reuters that it did not break any laws and did not buy oil from Rosneft.

“That is factually incorrect. We have never worked this way, and will never work this way,” the company told Reuters, adding that it had not been notified about an investigation and was caught in “political crossfire.”

Volga Group, a holding company for Mr. Timchenko’s assets, also claimed ignorance of a U.S. investigation.

“Mr. Timchenko has not received any notification from the U.S. law enforcement bodies (including the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern district of New York or the U.S. Department of Justice) on any investigation into his activities, Volga Group said in a written statement, Reuters reported.

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