US imposes sanctions on African gold companies connected to Wagner Group funding
The United States announced new sanctions on Tuesday against the activities of the Russian mercenary group Wagner in Africa.
Two companies controlled by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin are on the receiving end of the sanctions: Midas Resources, which owns several mines in Central Africa, and Diamville, which specialises in gold transactions.
The US Treasury Department has also accused Dubai-based Industrial Resources General Trading of managing transactions on behalf of Diamville. The company's participation in a gold and minerals selling scheme financially benefitted the Wagner Group.
"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 Wagner Group funds its brutal operations in part by exploiting natural resources in countries like the Central African Republic and Mali,” Brian Nelson, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury, said in a news release. “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 US government has labelled Wagner as a transnational criminal organisation. The mercenary army was already active in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and several African countries and is suspected of violations against international law and human rights.
Consequences for Americans
As a result of the sanctions, US citizens are no longer allowed to do business with these groups and all assets of those involved in the US are frozen.
Last weekend, Prigozhin and his mercenaries advanced towards Moscow but halted the operation after negotiations. According to Prigozhin, he wanted to prevent bloodshed among Russian soldiers after he and his army got within 200 km of the Russian capital before turning around. He had also occupied the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don but withdrew from there as well.
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko says Prigozhin is currently in Belarus.
Members of the Wagner group inspect a car in a street in Rostov-on-Don ©STRINGER / AFP