UNITED STATES – The US Department of Treasury announced Tuesday that sanctions would be imposed on four individuals and one legal entity associated with the Wagner Group private military company and its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Restrictions were imposed on Central African Republic, United Arab Emirates, and Russian companies that participated in illegal gold transactions to finance Wagnerites, specifically in Ukraine and Africa.
Prigozhin is associated with Midas Resources SARLU, a mining company based in the Central African Republic. Profits from the sale of extracted gold are claimed to be used to fund Wagnerite activities both at home and abroad.
Diamville, another South African company, was involved in a gold sale scheme last year, where the gold was converted into US dollars and withdrawn after US sanctions against several Russian financial institutions were introduced.
With the help of Dubai-based distributor Industrial Resources General Trading, Prigozhin was able to trade with Diamville and transfer cash to Russia. The scheme was also participated in by Russia’s DM Company Ltd.
As part of the sanctions, Russian citizen Andrey Ivanov, the head of the Wagner Group of companies, was also sanctioned, as he worked closely with Prigozhin’s Company Africa Politologyin the spring of 2023, dealing with arms sales and mining operations in Mali.
Founded in 2014, the Wagner Group has been active in several countries where Russia has significant interests – namely Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, and Ukraine. In addition to war crimes, they committed crimes against humanity.
During Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Wagnerites carried out reprisals against civilians. Currently, the Wagner Group is recruiting Russian prisoners.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine , the United States has added the Wagner Group to its trade “black list,” and late in 2022, it imposed new restrictions on technology exports.