A former long-time director for Fox News has been charged with violating sanctions by helping a banned Russian oligarch set up a pro-Vladimir Putin religious television channel in Russia.
Jack Hanick, 71, allegedly was hired in 2013 by Konstantin Malofeev, an investment banking tycoon, to help build a far-right Orthodox Christian television channel in Russia, federal prosecutors said. He also was enlisted to create similar channels in Greece, Bulgaria and elsewhere, according to the criminal complaint.
Hanick was arrested in London in early February where he is awaiting extradition proceedings, prosecutors said, The charges against him were unsealed on Thursday, a day after the U.S. Department of Justice announced the creation of Task Force KleptoCapture, to help identify and seize assets belonging to sanctioned oligarchs.
Messages left with his attorneys weren’t immediately returned.
Hanick, a U.S. citizen, had a long background in television, having worked for Fox from its founding in 1996 until 2011, according to prosecutors. A Fox spokeswoman verified that Hanick had worked there during that time and had been let go in 2011. (Fox Corp.
and News Corp.
parent company of MarketWatch publisher Dow Jones, share common ownership.)
In 2014, Malofeev and his investment fund, Marshall Capital Group, were placed on the U.S. sanctions list for allegedly helping finance and promote a Russian-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
Despite this, Hanick, who was then living in Moscow, continued to work for Malofeev until 2017, prosecutors said. With Hanick’s help, Malofeev launched Tsargrad TV in 2015. The channel’s programming was blocked on Google-owned
YouTube due to the sanctions against the oligarch. Hanick was listed as the channel’s managing director, according to court documents.
“Konstantin Malofeev is closely tied to Russian aggression in Ukraine,” said Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. “The United States sanctions on Malofeev prohibit United States 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.”
Prosecutors said Hanick also worked for Malofeev in trying to create a Greek television network “to detail Russia’s point of view on Greek TV.” He also worked to acquire a Bulgarian network for Malofeev but took steps to conceal the oligarch’s role in the purchase, presenting rhe buyer as a Greek associate, prosecutors said.
When Hanick was interviewed by the FBI in February 2021, prosecutors say he lied about his work for Malofeev and his knowledge of Malofeev’s hidden role in acquiring the Bulgarian TV channel.
Hanick faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.