US expands Russia sanctions

12 April, 09:15 PM
Vladimir Putin and Alisher Usmanov (

Vladimir Putin and Alisher Usmanov (

The United States has introduced additional sanctions against Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov and the International Investment Bank in Budapest, Hungary, the U.S. Treasury Department announced in a press release on April 12

The announcement said new restrictions are aimed at individuals and entities helping Moscow evade pre-existing Western economic and financial sanctions.

Usmanov is often referred to as “Putin’s favorite oligarch,” and has ties to other senior Russian officials, including former President Dmitry Medvedev.

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“Usmanov is known to be close to multiple U.S.-designated, senior Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Dmitry Medvedev, current Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia and former President and Prime Minister of Russia,” the message reads.

The list of sanctioned entities includes 120 organizations and individuals across 20 countries, including Usmanov-controlled Metaloinvest metallurgy company and Russia’s Megafon mobile operator.

The Budapest-based International Investment Bank (IIB) is a Russia-controlled financial institution.

“The IIB’s presence in Budapest enables Russia to increase its intelligence presence in Europe, opens the door for the Kremlin’s malign influence activities in Central Europe and the Western Balkans, and could serve as a mechanism for corruption and illicit finance, including sanctions violations,” the Treasury explains the rationale behind sanctioning the bank.

Additionally, the list includes Chinese company China HEAD Aerospace Technology, which purportedly supplied satellite imagery reconnaissance to associates of the Wagner Group and its owner Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Lichtenstein-based Sequoia Treuhand Trust Reg trust services company was targeted for serving the interests of some of Putin’s closest allies, such as Gennady Timchenko.

Earlier media reports suggested the Uzbekistan was lobbying the EU to lift sanctions from Usmanov.

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