“After being sanctioned by the United States, Malofeev attempted to evade sanctions by using conspirators to covertly acquire and run media outlets across Europe,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
The Russian businessman was among the Russian oligarchs appointed in early March who faced sanctions for their continued support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “cruel” invasion of Ukraine. According to Garland, Malofeev had previously been identified as providing financial support to Russians who promote separatism in Crimea and support the independence of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.
Garland also announced the “disruption” of a global botnet controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU. Botnets are networks of hacked computers used to carry out various scams and cyberattacks. A botnet can also be used to spread false information.
“The Russian government recently used a similar infrastructure to attack Ukrainian targets,” he said. “Fortunately, we were able to disrupt this botnet before it could be used.”
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