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US Treasury sanctions companies linked to Wagner Group's mining operations

by Martin Fornusek June 27, 2023 11:35 PM 2 min read
A pedestrian walks past a mural depicting Russia's mercenary force Wagner Group reading: "Wagner Group - Russian knights" on a wall in Belgrade, on Nov. 17, 2022. (Oliver Bunic / AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions against four companies and one individual connected to Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group.

The targeted entities engaged in illicit gold mining and trading in Africa to fund the mercenary company, according to the Treasury Department's June 27 press release.

The sanctioned list included Midas, a Central African Republic (CAR)-based mining company, Diamville, a gold and diamond purchasing company in CAR, Industrial Resources, a Dubai-based industrial goods distributor, and OOO DM, a Russian firm that also took part in the gold trading scheme.

Sanctions were also applied against Andrey Ivanov, a Wagner Group executive who took part in Prigozhin's operations in Mali, the press release added.

The U.S. Treasury designated the Wagner Group as a "transnational criminal organization" on Jan. 26 and imposed sanctions against it.

"Wagner personnel have engaged in an ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity, including mass executions, rape, child abductions, and physical abuse in the Central African Republic and Mali," the Treasury Department said.

On May 25, the U.S. sanctioned Ivan Maslov, the head of Wagner's operations in Mali.

During the Wagner Group's armed insurrection against the Russian government, the Wall Street Journal reported on June 24 that the U.S. plans to postpone its crackdown on the group's activities in Africa.

On June 26, however, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the U.S. will continue in its measures against the sanctioned private military company.

Army of hired guns: How Russia’s ‘PMCs’ are becoming the main invasion force
Private armies are illegal in Russia, so naturally, Moscow has been using them for decades. Now, it’s making them the main invasion force. The rate at which Russia creates new private military company-like units sped up after 2014 but it really took off during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine,

The Wagner Group's founder launched an armed rebellion against the Russian government on June 23. His mercenaries occupied the city of Rostov and marched on Moscow, only to abruptly end the insurrection on June 24.

Prigozhin's Wagner Group was fully financed by the state, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 27.

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