Fox News superstar Sean Hannity’s former producer just got arrested and indicted on charges of breaking U.S. sanctions imposed against a Russian oligarch who helped Putin’s original invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
After Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea, then-President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13660 blocking all property interests of those who engaged in actions that threaten the security and sovereignty of the independent country. It also prohibited US citizens from doing business with, receiving money or goods, or assisting those sanctioned by the order.
Apparently, John aka Jack Hanick didn’t get that memo.
Or, he didn’t care.
The indictment was first unsealed on March 3rd exactly one month after Hanick was placed under arrest at his London home, coming with it a promise from the Department of Justice to prosecute anyone in violation of US law by ignoring sanctions and working with those participating in destabilizing independent nations. US Attorney Damien Williams of the SDNY wrote:
The US sanctions of Malofeyev prohibit US citizens from working for, or doing business with Malofeyev, but as alleged Hanick violated those sanctions by working directly for Malofeyev on multiple television projects over the course of several years. The indictment unsealed today show’s this office’s commitment to the enforcement of laws intended to hamstring those who would use their wealth to undermine fundamental processes.
Hanick’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Jessica Greenwood and Thane Rehn of the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Crime Enterprises Unit.
In 2013, Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev unveiled plans to form a pro-Russian propaganda television network. Hanick joined Malofeyev in his venture. Even moving to Russia that same year. His salary, housing, and visa were arranged and paid for by Malofeyev. Today, he is best known as “God’s Oligarch” and who wanted Putin to be a tsar.
After Russia invaded Crimea, Malofeyev was considered a Specially Designated National by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). As a key financial backer of separatists in the Donetsk region of Ukraine and Crimea, he was indicted in Ukraine for building a private army there. Effectively placing sanctions on him and under EO 13660 prohibiting him from having or doing business with any US citizen.
After the sanctions were issued, nonetheless Hanick continued to work for Malofeyev. He took on executive duties once the Russian TV Network launched in 2015, serving as a board member and producer. That same year, Malofeyev expressed interest in acquiring a tv station in Bulgaria and starting one in Greece. In correspondence between Hanick and Malofeyev in 2015, Hanick said he saw Greece as:
“an opportunity to detail Russia’s point of view on Greek TV.”
Over the next two years, Hanick would make multiple trips to both Greece and Bulgaria. Going so far as to travel with an associate of Malofeyev’s who Hanick passed off as his boss, his attempts to shield his business relationship with Malofeyev are a tangible indication that he knew he was breaking US law.
Malofeyev oversaw all payments and other compensation sent to Hanick. Even though they tried to conceal the origins, the former Fox producer also received payments from a Russian bank, which Sean Hannity’s former colleague then transferred to his accounts in the United States.
Jack Hanick is charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act carrying a penalty of up to 20 years. In Feb 2021, the FBI questioned Hanick about his relationship with Malofeyev. Not surprisingly, he lied. The FBI knows this because, in 2015, Hanick said in an email to Malofeyev:
You are the founder and chief architect of the project. We, as board members have the responsibility to direct the staff to implement your instructions.
That captured email establishes an understood employee/employer relationship.
He’s also charged with making false statements to a federal agent, which could add an additional five years if convicted.
FBI Assistant Director Michael Driscoll was very clear as to the objective and importance of sanctions. And why they must be upheld and followed. He said:
Sanctions imposed by the United States Government are in place to protect our national interests, as well as the interests of our allies around the world.
For the time being, Jack Hanick is still in London awaiting extradition.
At 71 years old, Sean Hannity’s former producer is facing 25 years in federal prison.
For his part, Fox’s aging star opinion host hasn’t made much news since complaining bitterly that his honest text messages telling Trump that his insurrection ‘ruined everything he achieved’ erupted onto the front pages of every major newspaper late last year.
The US government has officially put those taking money from wealthy warmongers will be investigated, and prosecuted.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick