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(The Hill) – The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges Thursday against an American television producer accused of violating sanctions against a Russian oligarch related to Moscow’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. 

John Hanick, 71, faces up to 20 years in prison for working closely on the establishment of European television networks with the Russian oligarch, Konstantin Malofeyev, over several years — despite longstanding U.S. sanctions on the Russian elite, according to a DOJ press release.

Hanick, who previously worked for Fox News, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York. He was provisionally arrested in London on Feb. 3, and the U.S. is seeking his extradition.

The DOJ said the case against Hanick marks the “first-ever criminal indictment” related to violations of U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia following the 2014 Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.

“The Justice Department will do everything it can to stamp out Russian aggression and interference,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division in a statement.

The Biden administration on Wednesday unveiled a KleptoCapture task force to enforce sanctions on the Kremlin and its allies for the brutal invasion of Ukraine launched last week. 

“We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement on Wednesday.

An additional eight prominent Russians were sanctioned on Thursday, bringing the total since the start of the invasion to 26 individuals, not including family members, who are included in the measures. 

Malofeyev was sanctioned in 2014 for threatening Ukrainians and for financing a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine, the DOJ said.

Hanick violated the sanctions by working closely with the oligarch from 2013 to 2017, the DOJ alleges, claiming the American helped establish a Russian cable news network as well as Greek and Bulgarian television networks.

When Hanick was questioned about his connections to Malofeyev in February 2021, he made false statements, the DOJ said. He faces up to five years in prison for allegedly making false claims.

Damien Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the case against Hanick “shows this office’s commitment to the enforcement of laws intended to hamstring those who would use their wealth to undermine fundamental democratic processes.”

“This office will continue to be a leader in the Justice Department’s work to hold accountable actors who would support flagrant and unjustified acts of war,” Williams said in a statement.