Sanctions on four entities associated with the Wagner Group and its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, were announced by the United States Treasury on Tuesday.
According to The Treasury Department, companies were fleecing natural resources in countries like Mali and the Central African Republic, which funds Wagner’s paramilitary activities in Africa.
The Treasury Departments Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) states the Wagner Group commits atrocities around the world, preying on the vulnerable and threatening nations’ safety, prosperity, governance, and human rights. This is in addition to plundering their natural resources.
U.S. Treasury Department’s Brian Nelson stated that the U.S. would target the Wagner Group’s revenue avenues to degrade its violence expansion.
Sanctioned businesses may be found in three different countries: Russia, the UAE, and the Central African Republic (CAR).
Andrey Nikolayevich Ivanov, a Russian executive, was also sanctioned for supervising Wagner Group’s activities in the Central African Republic and Mali.
The Treasury claims that the targeted organizations funded the Wagner Group’s ruthless mercenary activities through the systematic robbery of millions of dollars worth of gold from the CAR. Wagner is the beneficiary of Prigozhin’s alleged manipulation of a web of African enterprises that launders money from diamond and precious metal mining.
Wagner has been using the vast Ndassima gold mine as a piggy bank, but one of the sanctioned businesses, CAR-based Midas Resources, reportedly blocked government inspectors from visiting the facility. Over a billion dollars of gold may be waiting to be extracted from the Ndassima mine.
The United States Treasury Department said that Wagner had enlisted the aid of other sanctioned businesses to convert its stolen gold into cash and thereby circumvent U.S. sanctions against Russian financial institutions.
Diamville, situated in the Central African Republic but controlled by Prigozhin, was instrumental in the illegal diamond trade between Wagner and European and Emirati clients.
It’s been reported that the Biden administration did not initially plan to impose penalties against Wagner until Thursday. After Prigozhin gave up his rebellion and fled to Belarus, Putin’s administration may be pushing aggressively to take control of Wagner’s activities and assets, so attacking Wagner may be equivalent to an attack on Putin.