Tax Fraud Sentencing Delayed for RT America Prez

Alexei Iazlovsky faces up to three years in prison

July 1, 2014

The president of RT America’s U.S. operations, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud last year, has had his June sentencing hearing delayed until December, as he continues to cooperate with federal officials.

Alexei Iazlovsky, who faces up to three years in prison, was scheduled for sentencing on June 23. However, federal prosecutors and Iazlovsky’s lawyer requested the hearing be rescheduled for Dec. 15.

According to the request, Iazlovsky "is cooperating with the government pursuant to a plea agreement and may be called as a witness in the trial of [his accountant]."

These issues "may be helpful to the parties and to the court in determining an appropriate sentence for the defendant," said prosecutors.

Iazlovsky is listed in public records as president of RTTV America, Inc., the company that employs RT America staffers, owns its office space and logo copyright, and operates its news productions.

Although officials at the Russian government-controlled media outlet have said RT America is separate from RTTV America, Inc., the Washington Free Beacon has been unable to validate that RT America exists as its own taxable entity in the United States.

Current and former RT America staffers have described Iazlovsky as president of the news outlet in discussions with the Free Beacon. RTTV America, Inc.’s corporate filings show that it shares the same addresses as RT America’s four U.S.-based news bureaus.

A W-2 federal tax form provided to the Free Beacon in April by an RT America editorial staffer listed the employer as "RTTV America, Inc."

In Iazlovsky’s plea agreement, he admitted to filing over $1 million in fraudulent tax deductions for RTTV America, Inc.

The Free Beacon was the first to report on Iazlovsky’s role with the Russian government news outlet in April.

Iazlovsky’s tax crimes are not the only problems facing the Russian government’s U.S.-based media empire.

The IRS is examining tax fraud allegations leveled at Voice of Russia, the Kremlin’s radio outlet in Washington, sources told the Free Beacon in June.

Similar to the relationship between RT America and "RTTV America, Inc.," VOR staffers are actually employed by an outside company called Intl. TV Services.

Iazlovsky also runs intl. TV Services, according to public records.

VOR is also under investigation for racial discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Free Beacon first reported in April.

Margarita Simonyan, who runs RT in Moscow, said the news organization planned to sever its relationship with Iazlovsky after the Free Beacon broke the news of his guilty plea.

However, RT America and VOR employees said earlier this month that they had not been informed of any changes.

"I have not heard a word of them actually cutting ties," one VOR source told the Free Beacon. "Nothing has been announced to the company employees, nothing. So it’s as though you can be a criminal and run the company."

A spokesperson for RT in Moscow did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Published under: Russia