Russian national pleads guilty in $150 million kickback plot


NEW BERN, N.C. — A Russian national living in North Carolina has pleaded guilty to bribery and other charges after prosecutors say he received more than $150 million in kickbacks from contractors seeking deals with the Russian military.

Leonid Teyf, 59, of Raleigh, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in New Bern and agreed to forfeit nearly $6 million in assets.

Prosecutors say Teyf and his wife lived in luxury in a gated golf-course community until he was indicted in December 2018. Teyf and his wife had luxury cars, expensive artwork and a 17,000-square foot (1,600-square-meter) house tended by housekeepers, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Teyf used his position as an executive with a military supplier to extract kickbacks from subcontractors seeking to do business with Russia’s armed forces. The scheme stretched back more than a decade.

In court papers, prosecutors said Teyf thwarted a Russian government probe by bribing the investigators.

As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop murder-for-hire charges and to seek a prison term of just five years at sentencing. Teyf was accused of trying to have his housekeeper’s son killed because he suspected his wife was having an affair with the man.

The wife, Tatiana Teyf, 43, pleaded guilty to a false statement in an immigration matter. The government will not seek a prison term for her under her plea deal.

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