OFAC designates Prigozhin’s associates, firms and his toys – and updates some DPRK stuff, too

Today, OFAC added the following entities:

AUTOLEX TRANSPORT LTD., Alpha Centre, Providence Office, Number 22, Mahe, Seychelles [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: PRIGOZHIN, Yevgeniy Viktorovich). 

 

BERATEX GROUP LIMITED (a.k.a. BERATEX GROUP LTD.), Suite 1, Sound and Vision House, Francis Rachel Street, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: PRIGOZHIN, Yevgeniy Viktorovich). 

 

LINBURG INDUSTRIES LTD., Alpha Centre, Providence Office, Number 22, Mahe, Seychelles; Blanicka 590/3, Vinohrady, Prague 120 000, Czech Republic; Registration Number 191335 (Seychelles) [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: PRIGOZHIN, Yevgeniy Viktorovich).

vessel (a yacht! Our first!):

ST. VITAMIN Pleasure Craft St. Vincent and the Grenadines flag (Beratex Group Limited); MMSI 375311000 (vessel) [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: BERATEX GROUP LIMITED).

and aircraft:

M-SAAN; Aircraft Manufacture Date Sep 2007; Aircraft Mode S Transponder Code 424B32; Aircraft Model EMB135; Aircraft Operator Autolex Transport LTD.; Nationality of Registration Man, Isle of; Aircraft Serial Identification 14501008 (aircraft) [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: AUTOLEX TRANSPORT LTD.). 

 

RA-02791 (f.k.a. M-VITO); Aircraft Manufacture Date 01 Dec 2000; Aircraft Mode S Transponder Code 140AE7; Aircraft Model Hawker 800XP; Aircraft Operator Beratex Group Limited; Nationality of Registration Russia; Aircraft Serial Identification 258512 (aircraft) [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: BERATEX GROUP LIMITED). 

 

VP-CSP; Aircraft Manufacture Date Sep 1991; Aircraft Mode S Transponder Code 400065; Aircraft Model BAE 125 Series 800B; Aircraft Operator Linburg Industries LTD.; Nationality of Registration Cayman Islands; Aircraft Serial Identification 258210 (aircraft) [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: LINBURG INDUSTRIES LTD.).

to the election interference, cyber-related and Ukraine/Russia-related sanctions, and added the following persons:

KUZMIN, Denis Igorevich, Russia; DOB 18 Dec 1990; Gender Male (individual) [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). 

 

NESTEROV, Igor Vladimirovich, Russia; DOB 07 Feb 1985; citizen Russia; Gender Male (individual) [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC).

under the election interference program.

In addition, the following listings under the cyber-related sanctions:

ASLANOV, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly (a.k.a. ASLANOV, Jay; a.k.a. ASLANOV, Jayhoon), Russia; DOB 01 Jan 1990; POB Azerbaijan; Gender Male (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). -to- ASLANOV, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly (a.k.a. ASLANOV, Jay; a.k.a. ASLANOV, Jayhoon), Russia; DOB 01 Jan 1990; POB Sumgait, Azerbaijan; nationality Russia; Gender Male; Passport 629512112 (Russia); National ID No. 2504139886 (individual) [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). 

 

BURCHIK, Mikhail Leonidovich (a.k.a. ABRAMOV, Mikhail), Russia; DOB 07 Jun 1986; Gender Male (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). -to- BURCHIK, Mikhail Leonidovich (a.k.a. ABRAMOV, Mikhail), Russia; DOB 07 Jun 1986; Gender Male (individual) [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC).

INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC (a.k.a. AZIMUT LLC; a.k.a. GLAVSET LLC; a.k.a. MEDIASINTEZ LLC; a.k.a. MIXINFO LLC; a.k.a. NOVINFO LLC), 55 Savushkina Street, St. Petersburg, Russia [CYBER2]. -to- INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC (a.k.a. AZIMUT LLC; a.k.a. GLAVSET LLC; a.k.a. GLAVSET, OOO; a.k.a. LAKHTA INTERNET RESEARCH; a.k.a. MEDIASINTEZ LLC; a.k.a. MEDIASINTEZ, OOO; a.k.a. MIXINFO LLC; a.k.a. NOVINFO LLC; a.k.a. NOVINFO, OOO), 55 Savushkina Street, St. Petersburg, Russia; d. 4 korp. 3 litera A pom. 9-N, ofis 238, ul. Optikov, St. Petersburg, Russia; d. 4 litera B pom. 22-N, ul. Starobelskaya, St. Petersburg, Russia; d. 79 litera A. pom 1-N, ul. Planernaya, St. Petersburg, Russia; 4 Optikov Street, Building 3, St. Petersburg, Russia [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848]. 

 

PODKOPAEV, Vadim Vladimirovich, Russia; DOB 01 May 1985; Gender Male (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). -to- PODKOPAEV, Vadim Vladimirovich (a.k.a. PODKOPAYEV, Vadim), Russia; DOB 01 May 1985; Gender Male (individual) [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). 

 

PRIGOZHIN, Yevgeniy Viktorovich (a.k.a. PRIGOZHIN, Evgeny), Russia; DOB 01 Jun 1961; Gender Male (individual) [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). -to- PRIGOZHIN, Yevgeniy Viktorovich (a.k.a. PRIGOZHIN, Evgeny), Russia; DOB 01 Jun 1961; Gender Male (individual) [UKRAINE-EO13661] [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). 

 

VENKOV, Vladimir, Russia; DOB 28 May 1990; Gender Male (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC). -to- VENKOV, Vladimir Dmitriyevich (a.k.a. VENKOV, Vladimir), Russia; DOB 28 May 1990; Gender Male (individual) [CYBER2] [ELECTION-EO13848] (Linked To: INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC).

were added to the election interference program (as well as other updates).

And a DPRK program designation was updated, too:

CHEN, Mei Hsiang (Chinese Traditional: 陳美香) (a.k.a. CHEN, Mei-Hsiang), Taiwan; DOB 18 May 1956; nationality Taiwan; Gender Female; Secondary sanctions risk: North Korea Sanctions Regulations, sections 510.201 and 510.210; Passport 310422295 expires 06 Jan 2025; National ID No. R222185563 (individual) [DPRK4]. -to- CHEN, Mei Hsiang (Chinese Traditional: 陳美香) (a.k.a. CHEN, Mei-Hsiang), Taiwan; DOB 06 May 1961; nationality Taiwan; Gender Female; Secondary sanctions risk: North Korea Sanctions Regulations, sections 510.201 and 510.210; Passport 314009735; National ID No. Q221029421 (individual) [DPRK4].

And the Treasury Department put out a press release:

PRESS RELEASES

Treasury Targets Assets of Russian Financier who Attempted to Influence 2018 U.S. Elections

Washington – Today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Russian actors that attempted to influence the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, though there was no indication that foreign actors were able to compromise election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote counts, or disrupted the tallying of votes.  Today’s action also increases pressure on previously designated person Yevgeniy Prigozhin by targeting his physical assets, including three aircraft and a yacht, as well as employees of the Internet Research Agency, which Yevgeniy Prigozhin finances.  While today’s action only targets Russian actors, the U.S. Government is safeguarding our democratic processes from adversaries — primarily Russia, Iran, and China — that may be seeking to influence the upcoming 2020 elections.

“Treasury is targeting the private planes, yacht, and associated front companies of Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Russian financier behind the Internet Research Agency and its attempts to subvert American democratic processes.  Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of American democracy, and we will use our authorities against anyone seeking to undermine our processes and subversively influence voters,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.  “This Administration will work tirelessly to safeguard our electoral process, and will aggressively pursue any other foreign actor that attempts to interfere in the 2020 elections.”

Today’s action marks Treasury’s first imposition of sanctions under E.O. 13848, “Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election,” which the President signed in September 2018, warning all countries that they may face sanctions should they interfere in U.S. elections.

DESIGNATION TARGETS

Today’s action targets four entities, seven individuals, three aircraft, and a yacht that are all associated with the Internet Research Agency and its financier, Yevgeniy Prigozhin.

The Internet Research Agency used fictitious personas on social media and disseminated false information in an effort to attempt to influence the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and try to undermine faith in U.S. democratic institutions.  In connection with the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, the Internet Research Agency conducted a variety of activities that were part of a broad campaign to try to influence the U.S. political system.  For example, as of October 2018, the Internet Research Agency released a staged video filmed by one of their employees that claimed they were seeking to influence and interfere in the 2018 midterms.  In November 2018, the Internet Research Agency posted a statement on a website titled the “Internet Research Agency American Division” claiming that the organization sought to discredit candidates it deemed hostile to Russia and that they were utilizing social media to further its campaign.  As a result of these activities, the Internet Research Agency is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for directly or indirectly engaging in, sponsoring, concealing, or otherwise being complicit in foreign interference in a U.S. election. 

The Internet Research Agency was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, on March 15, 2018.

The Treasury Department is also imposing sanctions on six members of the Internet Research Agency for their efforts in furthering the objectives of the organization.  As of 2018, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov (Aslanov), Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik (Burchik), Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev (Podkopaev), Vladimir Dmitriyevich Venkov (Venkov), Igor Vladimirovich Nesterov (Nesterov), and Denis Igorevich Kuzmin (Kuzmin) were all members of the Internet Research Agency involved in attempting to interfere in U.S. elections.  As a result, Aslanov, Burchik, Podkopaev, Venkov, Nesterov, and Kuzmin are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for acting for or on behalf of and materially assisting the Internet Research Agency in connection with the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.

Aslanov, Burchik, Podkopaev, and Venkov were previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, on March 15, 2018. 

In renewed action, the Treasury Department is increasing its pressure against Yevgeniy Prigozhin (Prigozhin) by not only calling out his support for the Internet Research Agency in connection with its efforts to interfere in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, but also identifying his personal property, including several private jets and a yacht.  Prigozhin has spent significant funds to further the Internet Research Agency’s attempted influence operations in connection with the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.  As a result, Prigozhin is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for materially assisting and providing financial support to the Internet Research Agency in connection with the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. 

Prigozhin was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, on March 15, 2018.  Prigozhin was also designated pursuant to E.O. 13661 on December 20, 2016 for materially assisting senior officials of the Russian Federation. 

Prigozhin utilizes a series of front companies to manage his luxury personal property to include three private jets and a yacht.  Beratex Group Limited (Beratex), an entity registered in the Seychelles, owns and operates a private jet that until just recently flew under the tail number M-VITO.  Beratex originally purchased M-VITO in 2012, and since then, photographs on social media accounts have shown that Prigozhin’s family have used the plane. Between 2017 and 2018, M-VITO conducted numerous flights throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Europe to include Sudan, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Armenia, Germany, Spain, and Russia.  In addition to M-VITO, Beratex is also the registered owner of St. Vitamin, a yacht the company acquired in 2014.  Prigozhin’s family has vacationed on St. Vitamin, as evidenced by photographs posted on social media accounts.  Beratex is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13661, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13848 for materially assisting Prigozhin.  M-VITO and St. Vitamin are being identified as property in which Beratex has an interest.

 

M-VITO: One of Prigozhin’s private jets.  Between 2017 and 2018, M-VITO conducted numerous flights throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Europe

Anna Zvereva/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

 

St Vitamin: Prigozhin’s Yacht

 

Prigozhin also owns and uses VP-CSP, a private jet registered in the Cayman Islands.  Since 2017, Linburg Industries LTD. (Linburg), a company incorporated in the Seychelles, has been the registered owner and operator of VP-CSP.  Between 2017 and 2018, VP-CSP conducted flights throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Europe to include Sudan, the Central African Republic, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Germany, Spain, Greece, Finland, Estonia, and Russia.  Linburg is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13661, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13848 for materially assisting Prigozhin.  VP-CSP is being identified as property in which Linburg has an interest.

Finally, by October 2018, Prigozhin’s employees arranged for the purchase of M-SAAN, a private jet registered in the Isle of Man.  M-SAAN’s registered owner and operator is Autolex Transport Ltd. (Autolex), a company incorporated in the Seychelles.  Autolex is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13661, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13848 for materially assisting Prigozhin.  M-SAAN is being identified as property in which Autolex has an interest.

As a result of today’s designations, all property and interests in property of these persons, including the identified aircraft and vessel, that are or come within the possession of U.S. persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.  Additionally, any entities 50 percent or more owned by one or more of these designated persons are also blocked.  Due to the designation of some of these persons under E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13661, foreign persons may be subject to secondary sanctions for knowingly facilitating a significant transaction or transactions with those designated persons.

The identification of these aircraft and vessel serves as a warning to those who continue to provide M-VITO, St. Vitamin, VP-CSP, and M-SAAN landing rights or other general services.  By continuing to service these aircraft and the vessel, providers of such services run the risk of facilitating or supporting Prigozhin’s nefarious activities and may also be subject to future sanctions.

Identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today.

 

Links:

OFAC Notice

Treasury Press Release

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