us-sanctions 23 July 2020

OFAC announces fresh sanctions on Russian financier

The United States has imposed further sanctions against Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian financier close to President Vladimir Putin, designating five companies in three countries that are connected to him. The designated companies are located in Sudan, Thailand and Hong Kong.

‘Today, the United States took action to further limit Yevgeny Prigozhin’s destabilizing global activity,’ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a July 15 statement after the sanctions were announced by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (‘OFAC’).

‘Prigozhin relies on a network of front companies and facilitators, including three companies and an individual designated today based in Hong Kong and Thailand – Shine Dragon Group Limited, Shen Yang Jing Cheng Machinery Imp&Exp. Co, Zhe Jiang Jiayi Small Commodities Trade Company Limited, and Igor Lavrenkov,’ Pompeo said.

‘Prigozhin’s role in Sudan highlights the interplay between Russia’s paramilitary operations, support for preserving authoritarian regimes, such as that of former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and exploitation of natural resources,’ said Pompeo. ‘Today’s actions will further limit attempts by Prigozhin and his backers to foment disorder or undermine democratic reforms in Sudan.’

The United States has already imposed sanctions on Prigozhin as well as some of his previously known companies, including the Internet Research Agency and the Wagner Group. The Internet Research Agency is accused of engaging in online media influence operations during the 2016 US presidential election as part of Russia’s attempt to influence the vote, while the Wagner Group is a Russian military contractor force active in Libya, Syria, and Africa.

The State Department said that two freshly designated companies in Sudan were used by Prigozhin as cover for the Wagner Group’s operations. It also sanctioned the companies’ heads, Andrei Mandel and Mikhail Potemkin.