U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has rescheduled the start of legal proceedings against the Russian businessman Leonid Teyf for May 18 in the wake of the grave coronavirus pandemic raging in the U.S. Trial of Teyf, the former deputy head of the Voentorg company that operates a chain of army surplus stores, was to begin on March 16.
The beginning of the trial of his wife Tatiana has been scheduled for August. The prosecution of the spouses includes 43 charge counts, including money laundering, bribery of an American official, planning a contract murder, and more.
In December 2018, the Teyfs were arrested in a $5 million mansion where they lived after obtaining American citizenship. According to some reports, the luxury mansion was purchased by the spouses when Leonid Teyf was deputy CEO of Voentorg, a major supplier of the Defense Ministry. A total of 36 of more than 40 charges were related to the work of that organization. According to the investigation, during that period, Teyf and his associates received kickbacks of about $150 million from the distribution of Russian state contracts and “laundered” them through offshore accounts.
Along with Teyf, his business partners Alexey Timofeev, his wife Olesya and their friend Alexey Polyakov were charged. Through the bank accounts that had been opened for that purpose, they helped Teyf getting out funds abroad. In addition, Teyf has connections with a number of other Russian politicians and businessmen who have escaped punishment so far. Thus, it is believed that Teyf was involved in the organization of army outsourcing by Voyentorg CEO Evgeny Vechko, a protégé of the highly controversial former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. In his turn, Teyf, using his official position, patronized the subcontractors chosen at his own discretion.
For example, under Teyf’s management, most of the army catering market was provided by the RBE Group company of Samara businessman Andrey Shokin. Previously, the firm did construction works, and until 2011 it did not provide any catering services at all. However, in 2013, after Teyf left Voentorg, the Ministry of Defense did not extend the contracts concluded with him. Nevertheless, the company continues operations in the segment of catering but this time as a supplier of the Russian Railways (RZD) state railway corporation. Thus, the holding includes the ESP operator of catering and the ESP Service operator of onboard service. It is noteworthy that earlier, consumers were not satisfied with the quality of services provided by the company. At present, complaints are still coming in.
In addition to laundering large sums, Teyf is accused of planning to kill his wife's lover, harboring illegal migrants, filing a false tax return, bribing U.S. officials, concealing foreign bank accounts and other breaches. Thus, in 2018, he violated immigration laws. He lied that he needed a U.S. visa to take a manager’s position in an international company.
Earlier, the court rejected the spouses' petition to drop 36 charges, as well as to separate the case of attempted murder, illegal possession of weapons and bribery of a U.S. official. It is also known that Teyf's alleged accomplices are cooperating with the investigators.
If convicted by a U.S. court, Leonid Teyf faces up to 20 years in prison, and his wife and associates — up to 10 years.