FBI agent: ‘Fascinating case’ of Raleigh-based Russian couple accused of money laundering

December 15, 2018

Two of the main defendants in an international money laundering and murder-for-hire case appeared in federal court Friday afternoon in Raleigh.

Tanya and Leonid Teyf were scheduled for detention hearings, but the cases were continued as attorneys asked for more time to make their case, hoping their clients would be released prior to trial.

Leonid Teyf’s attorneys filed documents arguing he is not a flight risk, with no prior criminal past, and not a threat to the community. Federal prosecutors disagree.

Since the FBI raided the Teyfs North Raleigh home earlier this month, the case has drawn international attention.

“It’s a fascinating case,” former FBI special agent Chuck Stuber said.

Stuber isn’t involved in the Teyf case, but his experience includes international financial crime investigations.

“Our grand jury subpoenas in the United States don’t carry weight in foreign countries, so we have to again work with foreign governments,” he said.

Investigators say the Teyfs profited off a $150 million kickback scheme involving a contract with the Russian military to purchase their multi-million dollar mansion.

Since December 2010, the couple opened at least 70 financial accounts at four different banks and wire transfers show money coming into the couple’s bank accounts from countries known to launder money. Investigators said the Teyfs bought hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of luxury cars and more than $2.5 million worth of art.

Stuber is impressed investigators went undercover to record the alleged bribe of a Homeland Security agent.

“If you can get an audio, a visual recording of the transaction, that’s much better than having a he said, she said situation,” he said.

On top of the alleged money laundering, Leonid Teyf is accused of trying to have his wife murdered because he suspected she was having an affair with their housekeeper’s son.

Despite that charge, the couple were brought into the courtroom at the same time Friday afternoon. They didn’t speak and their detention hearings have been rescheduled for Tuesday.

Update hourly