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US expands sanctions against Putin henchman

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The United States has updated the sanctions list against Russians and Russian companies to include three Russian citizens and five legal entities, the US Treasury official statement announced.

Russian citizens Igor Lavrenkov, Andrey Mandel and Mykhail Potepkin entered the list of individuals. The legal entities list includes M-Invest, based in St. Petersburg; Meroe Gold Co. Ltd. in Sudan and three Chinese organisations.

The activities of individuals and legal entities against whom the restrictions were approved are related to businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who is called “Putin’s backroom boy” by media. He coordinates the Internet Research Agency, a Russia’s “trolling fabricator,” which was included on OFAC’s 2018 sanctions lists.

“Today, OFAC has taken several measures against a financier, Yevgeny Prigogine, adding to the list of restrictions the entities located in Sudan, Hong Kong and Thailand, which had created opportunities for him to evade previous US sanctions,” the statement announced.

Prigogine is also considered a sponsor of the private military company “Wagner,” also supported by Russia’s defence ministry.

“Wagner’s activities in many countries, including Ukraine, Syria, Sudan and Libya, have created a dangerous environment and incited violence against innocent civilians,” the US Treasury Department stated.

Natalia Tolub

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