Former Fox News Producer Charged With Violating Russia Sanctions


A former Fox News producer named John Hanick has been criminally charged with offenses that could apparently land him up to 25 years behind bars for violating sanctions imposed by the U.S. in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine. The sanctions that he apparently violated weren’t some of the more recent measures that have been imposed in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, but the issues are connected. Hanick violated sanctions that were put in place over Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its earlier support of aggression in the Donbas region. After leaving Fox News, Hanick assisted Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev with the development of a television news network called Tsargrad TV, which connected to an eventual right-wing political group with Malofeyev at the helm that would promote “traditional family, religious, and cultural values of the Russian people.”

Hanick was arrested last month in London and, as of Friday, was apparently awaiting sought after extradition to the United States. As summarized by U.S. Attorney Damien Williams for the Southern District of New York, “U.S. sanctions on Malofeyev prohibit U.S. 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.” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen added as follows:

‘The Justice Department will do everything it can to stamp out Russian aggression and interference. As alleged in the indictment, the Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev was previously sanctioned for threatening Ukraine and providing financial support to the Donetsk separatist region. The defendant Hanick knowingly chose to help Malofeyev spread his destabilizing messages by establishing, or attempting to establish, TV networks in Russia, Bulgaria and Greece, in violation of those sanctions.’

Malofeyev “was one of the main sources of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea, and materially assisted, sponsored, and provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a separatist organization in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk,” the Justice Department explains. Russian authorities recognized the Donetsk People’s Republic as an independent country shortly before Putin’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine. As for Hanick’s involvement in Malofeyev’s activities, the ex-Fox News producer apparently moved to Russia in 2013, and in a January 2015 email, Hanick laid out the sort of professional subservience that he was displaying. Hanick wrote to Malofeyev that a particular draft policy for Tsargrad TV was meant “to implement your vision and to provide you with information for you to make decisions… 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.” Hanick was directly connected to Malofeyev.

Hanick was even involved with efforts to conceal Malofeyev’s involvement in the quest for that Bulgarian television presence. Hanick went to Bulgaria with another person whose presence was meant to make it appear as though a prospective buyer for a channel in Bulgaria was a Greek citizen, rather than Malofeyev. Early last year, FBI agents interviewed Hanick about these issues, and he lied to them, claiming (among other things) that he hadn’t initially been aware of Malofeyev’s involvement in the effort to obtain the Bulgarian network. Now, Hanick’s charges include violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and making false statements; the maximum sentence for the first offense is 20 years, while the second comes with up to five years in jail, if found guilty. Hanick has been said to have worked on Sean Hannity’s show during his time at Fox, but the network says this assertion is incorrect. Check out more at this link.