Ex-Fox News producer charged with collaborating with Russian oligarch

A man watches televisions broadcasting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference in Moscow in 2006.
Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Just two days after President Biden said the feds would go after Russian oligarchs to ‘seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets’, the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has filed its first-ever indictment charge for violation of sanctions against Ukraine – and it is against a former American employee of Fox News. Filed in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, the indictment accuses Jack Hanick of working with Konstantin Malofeyev, a blacklisted Russian banker who allegedly helped fund paramilitary groups in eastern Ukraine, to launch right-wing media networks in Russia, Greece and Bulgaria.

Hanick, 71, appears to have been a close ally of former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, according to his LinkedIn page. Before Ailes launched the right-wing news channel in 1996, Hanick ran Live with Roger Ailes to CNBC during the future Fox boss’ brief stint at the business news network. He was then among the first employees of Fox. According to the indictment, Hanick met Malofeyev at a business conference in Russia and later moved there in 2013 to help Malofeyev start a network, called Tsargrad TV, on the premise that they could create a Russian version of Rupert Murdoch’s channel. “In many ways, Tsargrad is like what Fox News did. We started from the idea that there are a lot of people who adhere to traditional values ​​and that they absolutely need a voice,” Malofeyev told the FinancialTimes in 2015.

Malofeyev is suspected of helping fund private groups of Russian soldiers to attempt in 2014 to take Ukraine’s Donetsk region, one of the regions Russian President Vladimir Putin is now using as a pretext to invade the country. The oligarch has denied funding paramilitary groups, but has been sanctioned by the United States and Europe since 2014.

According to the indictment, prosecutors obtained information about the former Fox executive’s involvement with the Russian station from an unpublished memoir that “was uncovered by investigators through careful research. authorized from Hanick’s email account”. Other e-mails show that he was at one time the president of the television station and mainly in charge of operations. According to Right Wing Watch, Hanick was one of the leaders who told Russian investors that “God has called this country” to stop the spread of gay rights and embrace traditional values.

Hanick was arrested on February 3 in London and is awaiting extradition. He faces up to 25 years in federal prison for violating sanctions and making false statements to federal agents. The case appears to have been ongoing for some time – court documents show the indictment was filed under seal in November – and predates Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misquoted a 2018 story that said he worked on Sean Hannity’s show. The post has been corrected to remove this reference after the article was edited to reflect its position.

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