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Guilty plea expected from man charged with helping Russian try to bribe Homeland Security agent

WRAL.comMay 21, 2019

Documents filed this week outline a planned guilty plea for one of the men charged in connection to an international money laundering and murder-for-hire case involving Russian nationals living in Raleigh. Federal agents say John Cotter, a lifelong friend and business associate of Leonid Teyf’s, will plead guilty to bribery.

FBI agents raided Teyf’s multi-million dollar Raleigh mansion in December and, a day later, charged him with money laundering, conspiracy in a series of money laundering, aiding and abetting in money laundering, bribery of a public official, murder for hire and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

Agents say Cotter and Teyf tried to bribe an agent of the Department of Homeland Security to investigate and deport the son of Teyf’s housekeeper who, Teyf thought, was having an affair with his wife. According to documents in the case, the men offered the DHS agent a boat, vehicle or cash as an incentive to investigate. They also agreed to pay the special agent $25,000 for an “investigation that would result in the arrest and deportation” of the son.

Cotter then helped Teyf provide a $10,000 down payment, promising that once the son was deported, the agent would get an additional $15,000

In February 2018, Teyf told a confidential source that he believed his wife had been involved in a romantic relationship with the son of his housekeeper. Teyf told the informant that he wanted to pay someone to get the son to talk and then have the son overdose on drugs.

Teyf then said he wanted the son deported because, if he was back in Russia, “he would be buried already.”

Teyf went on to tell the informant that he wanted the son “kidnapped, taken into the woods, forced to admit to having sex with Tatyana Teyf on video then to be killed,” an affidavit states.

Teyf, his wife and three others still face charges including bribery, money laundering and violation of immigration laws.

Leonid Teyf remains in jail without bond. Tatyana Teyf was released from jail without bond in March.

Trial dates have not been set for any of the defendants while federal courts deal with several defense motions, including requests for the Teyfs to turn over more information about foreign bank accounts.

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