The government wants to use sanctions against Russia to seize two Bal Harbour condos

Two Bal Harbour condominiums, last sold in 2018 for $1.4 million each, are the subject of a U.S. Justice Department civil forfeiture complaint that’s part of a fusillade of actions enforcing sanctions against Russia.

The two units are Nos. 1616 (one bedroom, one bathroom, 510 sq. ft) and 1617 (one, one 1/2, 1,147 sq. ft.) at One Bal Harbour at the Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour’s address, 10295 Collins Ave. Both apartments were once owned by Viktor Perevalov and Svetlana Perevalov. Now, they’re owned by 1616 Collins LLC, a company that shares the Perevalovs 177 Sunny Isles Blvd. mailing address and whose sole beneficiary is Viktor Perevalov’s son.

Justice’s filing argues that money from the sale and renting of properties violates sanctions from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), enacted in 2014 after Russia annexed the Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, and sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

“The Justice Department is more committed than ever to cutting off the flow of illegal funds that are fueling (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war and to holding accountable those who continue to enable it,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said.

Tavrida Highway and Florida Sunshine

The Justice Department says Perevalov and Valeri Abramov founded VAD, AO, a construction company that built the Tavrida Highway in the Crimea Region after Russian forces took the area. In January 2018, OFAC sanctioned Perevalov, Abramov and put them on a list of “specially designated nationals and blocked persons,” Justice said.

“Once OFAC imposed the Sanctions, all property or interest in property belonging to Perevalov, Abramov, and/or VAD, AO in the United States, “[was] blocked and [could] not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in,” Justice said. “OFAC never issued a license which was required for anyone to transact with, or on behalf of, Perevalov and Abramov.”

The Perevalovs had owned the two units at One Bal Harbour since 2008. Justice’s filing says Perevalov used money from one of his accounts to pay the FPL power bills for the apartments, which alone would violate the sanctions.

Delaware records say 1616 Collins LLC was formed on April 10, 2018 by a local law firm and a real estate agent managing the apartments. Perevalov’s son, “R.P. a minor at the time, was the entity’s purported sole beneficial owner.”

Each apartment officially was “sold” from the Perevalovs to 1616 Collins LLC in 2018 for $1.4 million.

“Although Miami-Dade County property records show the transfer of the title of the Defendant Properties as a sale from Perevalov and [Svetlana Perevalov] to 1616 Collins LLC, neither the law firm nor (real estate agent) had any record of a sales agreement,” Justice’s filing said.

The apartments continued to be leased as short-term rentals.

This case was investigated by the FBI with help from Sunny Isles Beach police. The prosecution is being handled by U.S. Attorney’s Southern District of Florida assistant U.S. attorneys Marx P. Calderón and Eli Rubin; Joshua E. Kurland of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the National Security Division; and the criminal Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Sections Sinan Kalayoglu and Lindsay Gorman.