Apex man will plead guilty to bribery role in Russian money laundering case

An Apex man will plead guilty to bribery in a case involving accusations of money laundering and attempts to defraud the Russian government out of millions.

John Patrick Cotter will accept charges of bribing a public official and aiding and abetting, according to documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Cotter’s charges came in connection with the case against Leonid Teyf, 57, his friend and business partner who faced a slew of federal charges after an FBI raid on his North Raleigh house in December. Investigators accused him of conspiring to launder money with his wife, Tatyana Teyf, 41, and Alexsy Timofeev, a Russian citizen who lives in Illinois, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh said.

In December, Cotter was charged with trying to give $10,000 to an agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the promise that a man suspected of having an affair with Tatyana Teyf would be deported to Russia.

Court records from Cotter’s arrest said Teyf told a confidential source that he wanted to pay someone to get his former housekeeper’s son to admit the affair with Teyf and then kill him, according to the FBI. The plan involved getting the son sent to Russia, where he would likely be killed.

Cotter met the Homeland Security agent twice in Atlanta, court records said, describing the housekeeper’s son in a fraudulent marriage. They later met with Teyf in a Raleigh restaurant, where the businessman offered a boat, vehicle or cash to investigate the son. The payment was to be $25,000, $10,000 of which was a down payment.

Between 2010 and 2012, prosecutors said, Teyf was deputy director of Voentorg, which contracted with Russia’s Ministry of Defense to provide goods and service. Federal agents accuse him of creating a kickback scheme that brought $150 million in illegal payments.

Later, a Moscow-based news agency connected Teyf to a Russian oligarch charged by special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation with interfering with the U.S. election in 2016.

In a motion filed Tuesday, attorneys for Teyf said they are still reviewing the 3.6 terabytes of data the government seized from his client’s home, which translates to 73.4 million pages.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and federal courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.