Recent news from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control: July 27

OFAC took sanctions action over the last week in the Russia, Venezuela and Terrorism Sanctions programs:

Russia-related Sanctions

  • OFAC Sanctions Malian Officials Facilitating Wagner Group: OFAC on July 24 sanctioned three Malian transition government and military officials for facilitating the deployment and expansion of the Private Military Company ‘Wagner’s (Wagner Group) activities in Mali. OFAC clarified in its news release that this action does not target the people of Mali. “As the largest bilateral donor of development and humanitarian assistance to Mali, the United States continues to support the Malian people in their pursuit of peace, prosperity, and democracy,” OFAC said. The United States took this step based on evidence showing that these officials have contributed to the Wagner Group’s malicious activities in Mali. OFAC designated Colonel Sadio Camara, Mali’s Minister of Defense; Colonel Alou Boi Diarra, Mali’s Chief of Staff of the Air Force; and Lieutenant Colonel Adama Bagayoko, Malian Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff. These government officials were designated for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support to or in support of, the Wagner Group. The United States previously sanctioned the Wagner Group, a proxy military force of the Kremlin, for its role in carrying out combat operations around the world, including in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The Wagner Group has also committed widespread human rights abuses and has exploited and appropriated natural resources across multiple countries in Africa. Read more.

Venezuela-related Sanctions

  • OFAC Updates Venezuela-related Designations; Global Magnitsky Designation: OFAC on July 28 deleted an individual from its Specially Designated Nationals list. Carlos Rotondaro was previously designated pursuant to Executive Order 13692, Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela. A second individual, Didier Casimiro was removed from OFAC’s SDN List. Casimiro was previously designated pursuant to Executive Order 13850, Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela. OFAC also updated its SDN listing for Tabacos USA Inc., a U.S. entity designated pursuant to Executive Order 13818, Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption (Global Magnitsky). Read more.

Terrorism-related Sanctions

  • OFAC Designates ISIS-Somalia Financier: OFAC on July 27 imposed sanctions on Abdiweli Mohamed Yusuf, the head of the finance office of the Somalia-based affiliate of ISIS, designating him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Abdiweli Mohamed Yusuf has played a key role in the delivery of foreign fighters, supplies, and ammunition on behalf of ISIS-Somalia, which serves as a hub for disbursing funds and guidance to ISIS branches and networks across the African continent. ISIS-Somalia has continued to facilitate financial transfers, including through mobile money, to support ISIS’s destabilizing activities across Africa. OFAC’s action builds on OFAC’s previous designations in November 2022 of a transnational ISIS-Somalia weapons trafficking network and senior members of the terrorist group. It also follows U.S. military action in January of this year that targeted and killed Somalia-based ISIS leader Suhayl Salim Abd El-Rahman, more commonly known as Bilal al-Sudani. Read more.
  • In remarks at a roundtable with Somali financial services firms, U.S. Department of the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson acknowledged that Somali authorities have made progress combatting the terrorist group al-Shabaab; however, challenges still remain. In particular, al-Shabaab continues to generate revenue and seeks to abuse Somalia’s financial sector. “I would encourage you to strengthen your own internal compliance frameworks to align with international standards, including AML/CFT measures,” Nelson said. “As we have discussed, this involves implementing robust AML/CFT policies, conducting thorough due diligence on customers, and demonstrating compliance with international financial regulations,” he added. Read more.