Ex–Fox News Director Indicted for Working With Russian Oligarch

A man looks at TV sets broadcasting Russian president Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference in Moscow in 2006. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Just two days after President Biden declared the federal government would be going after Russian oligarchs to “seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets,” the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office filed its first-ever criminal indictment for violating the Ukraine sanctions — and it’s against an American former Fox News employee. Filed on Thursday in Manhattan federal court, the indictment accuses Jack Hanick of working with Konstantin Malofeyev, a blacklisted Russian banker who allegedly helped finance 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. Prior to Ailes’s launching of the right-wing-news channel in 1996, Hanick directed Straight Forward With Roger Ailes at CNBC during the future Fox boss’s brief stint at the business-news network. He later was among the first employees at Fox. According to the indictment, Hanick met Malofeyev at a business conference in Russia and later moved there in 2013 to help Malofeyev create 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 similar to what Fox News has done. We started from the idea that there are many people who adhere to traditional values and they absolutely need a voice,” Malofeyev told the Financial Times in 2015.

Malofeyev is suspected of helping to fund private groups of Russian soldiers to try in 2014 to take the Donetsk region of Ukraine — one of the areas Russian president Vladimir Putin is now using as a pretext to invade the country. The oligarch has denied funding any paramilitary groups, but he has been sanctioned by the U.S. and Europe since 2014.

According to the indictment, prosecutors got information about the former Fox director’s involvement in the Russian station from an unpublished memoir that “was discovered by investigators through a judiciously authorized search of Hanick’s email account.” Other emails show he was at one point the chairman of the television station and principally in charge of operations. According to Right Wing Watch, Hanick was one of the executives who told Russian investors that “God called on 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 as many as 25 years in federal prison for violating the sanctions and making false statements to federal agents. The case appears to have been in the works for some time — court filings show that the indictment was filed under seal in November — and predates Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously cited a 2018 story that said he had worked on Sean Hannity’s show. The post was corrected to remove that reference after the article was changed to reflect his position.

More on russia

See All
Ex–Fox News Producer Indicted for Work With Russian Oligarch