U.S. Presses Russian-Backed Company to Pay Up After Settlement

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. prosecutors pushed a federal judge to force a Russian-backed company to immediately pay up to satisfy a $5.9 million settlement it agreed to earlier this year to resolve a probe into alleged tax fraud and money laundering.

Prevezon Holdings Ltd. has argued that it doesn’t have to pay the entire amount until the release of about $3.6 million in debt that had been held by authorities in the Netherlands at the request of the U.S. Faith Gay, an attorney for the company, told Judge William H. Pauley III Thursday that the money was immediately seized by Dutch authorities as part of a separate investigation after the U.S. asked for it to be unfrozen.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni told Pauley that the agreement only called for the release of the Netherlands debt in connection with the New York case and not the return of the funds to Prevezon. The case stems from a decade-long drama tied to claims of Russian tax fraud and touches the highest levels of the U.S. and Russian governments.

The judge declined to rule immediately on the government’s request.

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