The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) announced sanctions on four companies and one individual connected to Russian-backed mercenary outfit The Wagner Group and its recently ousted founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin.
The targets of the sanctions are all entities that help fund Wagner via gold mining in Africa. They include Midas Resources SARLU, a mining company based in the Central African Republic (CAR); Diamville SAU, a Prigozhin-owned diamond/gold purchasing outfit in CAR; Industrial Resources General Trading, a Dubai-based subsidiary and Limited Liability Company DM (OOO DM), a Russian-firm that helped facilitate gold deals.
Midas is a CAR based mining operation which owns permits and retains “preferential mining allowance” to CAR’s Ndassima gold mine, which Treasury says contains over $1 billion worth of gold. When CAR officials attempted to access the mine for inspection, Wagner and Midas denied them entry. The UN confirmed Midas, who the sanctions call “key to financing Wagner’s operations in the CAR and beyond,” was working with rebel group Unité pour la Paix en Centrafrique in violation of UN sanctions.
Additionally, OFAC sanctioned Andrey Nikolavyevich Ivanov, a Russian national who they say “worked closely with Prigozhin’s entity Africa Politology and senior Malian government officials on weapons deals, mining concerns, and other Wagner Group activities in Mali.”
Africa Politology was previously sanctioned by the U.S. State Department in January, accusing the organization of trying to force western countries out of Africa by discrediting the UN and intimidating journalists who report on Wagner Group activities.
The Wagner Group was designated as a Transnational Criminal Organization by Treasury in January. In addition to their role in the Russo-Ukranian War, the sanctions say they “have engaged in an ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity, including mass executions, rape, child abductions, and other brutalities against innocents in the CAR and Mali.”
Prigozhin, whose name is now known worldwide after his recent demonstration of not-so-quiet-quitting, is already the target of U.S. sanctions thanks to his funding of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm accused of meddling in the 2016 election.