Emirati, Russian, Central African gold firms hit by US sanctions for ‘funding Wagner’
The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on companies in the United Arab Emirates, Central African Republic and Russia, accusing them of engaging in illicit gold dealings to fund Russia's Wagner mercenary group.
The US Treasury Department in a statement said it slapped sanctions on four companies connected to the Wagner group and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and said the illicit gold dealings fund the militia to sustain and expand its armed forces, including in Ukraine and Africa.
"The Wagner Group funds its brutal operations in part by exploiting natural resources in countries like the Central African Republic and Mali. The United States will continue to target the Wagner Group’s revenue streams to degrade its expansion and violence in Africa, Ukraine, and anywhere else," the Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.
The US State Department said that any action against Wagner was unrelated to an aborted mutiny last weekend.
Wagner has fought in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali and other countries, and has fought the bloodiest battles of the 16-month war in Ukraine. It was founded in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and started supporting pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region.
Central African Republic-based Midas Resources SARLU and Diamville SAU, UAE-based Industrial Resources General Trading and Russia-based Limited Liability Company DM were hit with sanctions in Tuesday's action.
Washington also imposed sanctions on Andrey Nikolayevich Ivanov, a Russian national the Treasury accused of being an executive in the Wagner group and said worked closely with senior Malian officials on weapons deals, mining concerns and other Wagner activities in the country.