By Ben Graham – Staff Writer, Triangle Business Journal
A Russian couple, whose north Raleigh mansion was raided by the FBI, and three others have been indicted on a slew of charges, including money laundering, immigration fraud and a murder-for-hire plot.
The charges from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh allege that Leonid Teyf, 57, orchestrated a kickback scheme in which he funneled money from Russia Military Defense contracts, skimming more than $150 million.
The alleged kickbacks took place over a two-year period and were orchestrated through a company called Voentorg, where Teyf served as deputy director. Some of the money was paid off to others, while the rest was placed in bank accounts in the U.S. and abroad, investigators claim.
Along with his wife Tatyana Teyf, 41, and Alexsy Timofeev, 37, Teyf is alleged to have created businesses and opened a series of financial accounts to launder the money, including a company called CTK Transportation in Illinois.
At one unnamed American bank, Teyf and his co-conspirators received at least 294 wire transfers totaling $39.5 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Foreign corporations and banks in countries known for money laundering were cited as the source of 293 of the wires.
Additional charges include conspiring to bring a foreign national in the U.S. illegally, an allegation that also includes 41-year-old Olesya Yuryevna Timofeeva, wife of Timofeev.
Teyf, along with associate Alexei Polyakov, is also accused of making false claims to obtain a U.S. visa.
In a separate scheme that was discovered during the investigation into the money laundering operation, Leonid Teyf is accused of paying $25,000 to have someone murder a man he believed was having an affair with his wife. Teyf also sought to have the man deported, allegedly paying $10,000 to a U.S. Department Homeland Security official to make that happen.
The charges come more than a week after multiple media outlets reported that the FBI was raiding the Teyfs’ north Raleigh mansion in North Ridge Country Club on Dec. 5. The couple bought the 16,856-square-foot estate in 2012 for $4.2 million, at the same time that the alleged money laundering scheme was taking place.
Since then, the Teyf’s have expanded their reach into Raleigh real estate, buying a 2-story historic building on East Hargett Street for nearly $1 million in May, with plans to potentially convert the space into a restaurant. The Teyfs also are partners with Blue Sky Services in the Wyndcrest Subdivision in north Raleigh.