United States and its Partners and Allies Continue Campaign Against Putin’s Affiliates in Response to the Premeditated and Unprovoked Invasion of Ukraine
Treasury to Share Financial Intelligence About Sanctioned Oligarchs with Department of Justice as Part of Effort to Freeze and Seize Assets
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the U.S. Department of State intensified pressure on Russia by sanctioning numerous Russian elites and their family members, identifying certain property of these persons as blocked, and sanctioning Russian intelligence-directed disinformation outlets. The elites sanctioned continue to provide direct and indirect support to the Government of the Russian Federation (GoR) through their business empires, wealth, and other resources. The aid of these individuals, their family members, and other key elites allows President Vladimir Putin to continue to wage the ongoing, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Blocked as part of today’s action are three Russian elites, two of their spouses, three of their adult children, six of their companies, one of Russia’s largest privately-owned aircraft, and one of the world’s largest superyachts.
As with previous announcements, these actions were taken in close coordination with the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, the ROK, and Australia, demonstrating global support for Ukraine and the commitment to hold Russia’s authoritarian leadership responsible for their actions. As a part of the transatlantic effort to further deny Russian elites the benefits of their kleptocracy and ensure the effective implementation of our financial sanctions, Treasury will share financial intelligence and other evidence where appropriate with the Department of Justice to support criminal prosecutions and seizure of assets. Furthermore, Treasury and the Department of Justice will continue to work with international partners and allies to target assets in various jurisdictions, as committed to in the joint statement by leaders on February 26, 2022.
“Treasury is committed to holding Russian elites to account for their support of President Putin’s war of choice,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “Today, across the U.S. government and in coordination with partners and allies, we are demonstrating our commitment to impose massive costs on Putin’s closest confidants and their family members and freeze their assets in response to the brutal attack on Ukraine. We also continue to target Russia’s destabilizing disinformation efforts.”
In addition to sanctioning elites, OFAC designated 26 Russia- and Ukraine-based individuals and seven Russian entities in connection with the GoR’s efforts to promulgate disinformation and influence perceptions. This action follows OFAC’s imposition of sanctions on January 20, 2022, which identified Russian agents that took part in activities that attempt to destabilize the Ukrainian government, and builds on sanctions imposed on April 15, 2021, for Russian-backed efforts to attempt to influence U.S. elections. Russian intelligence services, including the Federal Security Service (FSB), Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), and Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), employ disinformation outlets and intelligence service affiliates to spread false narratives that advance Russian strategic objectives to destabilize Ukraine and falsely justify the Kremlin’s activities. The individuals and entities designated today have played various roles in Russia’s global influence campaign, including in Ukraine.
The Department of State is also imposing substantial costs on Russia’s defense enterprises by sanctioning 22 defense-related firms. These far-reaching sanctions target a wide range of Russian defense enterprises, including entities that develop and produce fighter aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia’s military. These sanctions strike at the core of Putin’s war machine.
PUTIN AFFILIATE ALISHER USMANOV AND ONE OF WORLD’S LARGEST SUPERYACHTS
Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov (Usmanov) is one of Russia’s wealthiest billionaires with vast holdings across multiple sectors of the Russian Federation economy as well as internationally. Through holding company USM, of which Usmanov owns approximately 49 percent, and other vehicles, Usmanov holds significant interests in the metals and mining, telecommunications, and information technology sectors. Usmanov is known to be close to Putin as well as Dmitry Medvedev, the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia and former President and Prime Minister of Russia. Usmanov and Putin allegedly have financial ties, while Medvedev has reportedly benefited from the personal use of luxurious residences controlled by Usmanov.
Usmanov’s Kremlin ties enrich him and enable his luxurious lifestyle. Evidencing his wealth, Usmanov owns one of the world’s largest superyachts, known as Dilbar, and a business jet with tail number M-IABU. Dilbar, named after Usmanov’s mother, is Cayman Islands flagged with IMO number of 9661792, and a gross registered tonnage of 15917. This superyacht’s estimated worth is believed to be between $600 and $735 million. Dilbar has two helipads and one of the world’s largest indoor pools ever installed on a yacht. The estimated cost to run Dilbar is $60 million per year. Usmanov’s aircraft, M-IABU, is an Airbus A340-300 with serial number 955. The jet is registered in the Isle of Man and is believed to have cost between $350 and $500 million. The aircraft’s moniker, Bourkhan, is Usmanov’s father’s name. Additionally, the plane’s registration spells out “I’m Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov.” M-IABU is one of the largest privately owned planes in Russia and was previously leased out for use by Uzbekistan’s president.
Usmanov is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 and the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 587 (RuHSR), for operating or having operated in the technology sector of the Russian Federation economy. In addition, OFAC is identifying Usmanov’s superyacht and aircraft as blocked property in which Usmanov has an interest. This means that any transactions related to the yacht or aircraft, including things such as maintenance, the hiring of operating personnel, or payment of docking or landing fees, conducted with U.S. persons or in U.S. dollars, are prohibited. The European Union (EU) has also designated Usmanov.
Dilbar, superyacht, property of Usmanov
M-IABU, jet, property of Usmanov
Concurrent with this designation, OFAC issued General License (GL) 15, authorizing all transactions and unblocking all property of any entity owned 50 percent or more, directly or indirectly, by Usmanov, that does not appear on OFAC’s SDN List.
PUTIN AFFILIATE NIKOLAY TOKAREV
Nikolay Petrovich Tokarev (Tokarev) is a long-time Putin associate who served with Putin in the Soviet Union’s Committee for State Security (KGB) as agents in Dresden, East Germany, in the 1980s. Tokarev is also the president of one of Russia’s most important companies, Transneft, a state-owned pipeline company that is responsible for transporting 90 percent of oil extracted in Russia. As the president of Transneft, Tokarev has enriched himself and his family, amassing a business and real estate empire extending throughout Russia and into Europe. Before his time as Transneft’s president, Tokarev worked in the Administrative Department of the President of the Russian Federation and was awarded numerous titles, orders, and honorary certificates for his service.
Tokarev’s family members, including his wife Galina Alekseyevna Tokareva (Galina) and daughter Maiya Nikolaevna Tokareva (Maiya), have benefited from his proximity to Putin and the GoR. Maiya Tokareva’s real estate empire has been valued at more than $50 million in Moscow, Russia alone and includes at least three companies: Moscow-based Limited Liability Company Ostozhenka 19 (Ostozhenka 19) and Zagreb, Croatia-based Katina Drustvo s Ogranicenom Odgovornoscu za Nekretnine I Ugostiteljstvo (Katina) and T.G.A. D.O.O. za Trgovinu I Usluge (TGA). Katina owns prime oceanfront real estate on a Croatian island that includes a villa built by the 19th century Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I.
Tokarev is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 and the RuHSR for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the GoR. Galina and Maiya are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 and the RuHSR for being the spouse or adult child of Tokarev, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024. Ostozhenka 19, Katina, and TGA are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 and the RuHSR for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Maiya, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024. The EU and Canada have also sanctioned Tokarev, and Canada additionally designated Galina and Maiya.
Transneft is subject to debt and equity prohibitions pursuant to Directive 2 under E.O. 13662 and Directive 3 under E.O. 14024.
ESCALATING SANCTIONS AGAINST THE NETWORK OF YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN
Yevgeniy Prigozhin (Prigozhin), who was previously designated pursuant to multiple sanctions authorities for facilitating attempts to interfere in U.S. elections and supporting the GoR, is the Russian financier of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which he utilizes to operate global influence operations. Prigozhin directs the generation of content to denigrate the U.S. electoral process and funds Russian interference efforts while also attempting to evade sanctions by standing up front and shell companies both in and outside of Russia. Prigozhin’s influence apparatus is reportedly supporting Russian Government designed influence operations within Ukraine. These influence efforts are focused on sowing discord on social issues in Ukraine.In early 2021, Prigozhin continued to coordinate messages in an attempt to spread disinformation about the United States government. His vast global network spreads false narratives online. Prigozhin’s influence efforts extend beyond the United States. OFAC has previously targeted these activities around the world, particularly through the Kremlin-backed Wagner group, on the continent of Africa. In 2021, Prigozhin assisted Russia’s efforts to interfere in elections and subvert public opinion in Asia. Russia’s efforts to promote false narratives on various topics, including Russia-Ukraine relations, relies on platforms associated with Prigozhin. Prigozhin also made efforts to spread disinformation on European politicians and officials to specifically achieve Russia’s goals in relation to Ukraine.
Prigozhin’s family facilitates the activities of his enterprise, which benefits from his favored status within Russia’s elite. Lyubov Prigozhina (Lyubov) is Prigozhin’s wife, and Polina Prigozhina (Polina) and Pavel Prigozhin (Pavel) are Prigozhin’s daughter and son, respectively. Lyubov, Polina, and Pavel play various roles in Prigozhin’s business enterprise.
Today, OFAC is designating Prigozhin again pursuant to E.O. 14024 and the RuHSR for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in interference in a United States or other foreign government election for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the GoR. Lyubov, Polina, and Pavel are each being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 and the RuHSR for being the spouse or adult child of Prigozhin, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024. Pavel also controls three companies, Lakhta Park, OOO, Lakhta Park Premium, OOO and Lakhta Plaza, OOO. These three companies are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Pavel, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024. The EU, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia have also designated Prigozhin.The EU and Canada have also designated Lyubov, and Canada has designated Polina and Pavel.
The actions above were taken pursuant to E.O. 14024 and the RuHSR, which authorizes sanctions against Russia for its harmful foreign activities, including violating well-established principles of international law such as respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states.
Additionally, today the Department of State designated several additional Russian elites as well as portions of their familial and business networks and multiple entities related to the Russian military.
FURTHER ACTION AGAINST RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE-DIRECTED DISINFORMATION OUTLETS
On April 15, 2021, OFAC designated Strategic Culture Foundation, InfoRos, NewsFront, and SouthFront for propagating Russian intelligence services-directed content. Since designation, these online media sites have attempted to evade sanctions and continue advancing false narratives against a variety of topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia’s disinformation and propaganda machine is a network of official and unofficial communication channels and platforms that Russia uses to create and amplify false narratives. Russia invests massively in these propaganda outlets to support their disinformation efforts, and it leverages outlets that pose as news sites to spread these false and misleading narratives. These media outlets repeatedly republish content from each other in an attempt to legitimize and popularize the disinformation narratives they propagate. The propaganda they collectively generate then is available to be cited by slightly larger, slightly more credible outlets, which filters their Russian intelligence-directed propaganda to a larger readership. This approach also allows Russia to be opportunistic, such as with COVID-19, where it has used the global pandemic as a hook to push longstanding disinformation and propaganda narratives.
Russia sought to downplay Western concerns about a (then) potential further Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian intelligence entities target Ukrainian and Russian citizens with disinformation attempting to label Ukraine and Ukrainian government officials as the aggressor in the Russia-Ukraine relationship. Russia’s disinformation playbook employs specifically placed propaganda at the behest of Russian intelligence services to manipulate and weaken perceived adversaries.
SVR-Directed Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF)
SCF is an online journal registered in Russia that is controlled by the SVR’s Directorate of Active Measures and is closely affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SCF was designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 on April 15, 2021, for having engaged in foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Since then, SCF has continued to make attempts to reach an audience, despite being banned on many social media and payment platforms following U.S. sanctions. SCF has created additional media outlets to promote its narratives, including Odna Rodyna and Rhythm of Eurasia. In 2021, SCF used Odna Rodyna to reach Ukrainian audiences. In 2021, SCF posted content alleging that the United States was supporting Ukraine in order to “debilitate Russia.” The SVR and SCF work to promote another affiliated media outlet, Journal Kamerton, which hosts a litany of articles denigrating Ukraine. Svetlana Georgiyevna Zamlelova (Zamlelova) is the Chief Editor of Journal Kamerton. One of the SCF’s main tactics is to publish Western fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists, giving them wider reach, while trying to obscure the Russian origins of the journal. This tactic helps the site appear to be an organic voice within its target audience of Westerners. SCF affiliates Odna Rodyna, Rhythm of Eurasia, and Journal Kamerton are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, SCF. Zamlelova is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Journal Kamerton.
Additional SVR-Directed Disinformation Networks
Russia’s SVR directs two additional disinformation outlets, New Eastern Outlook and Oriental Review. Both media outlets spread many types of disinformation about international organizations, military conflicts, protests, and any divisive issues that they can exploit. Recently, both outlets spread false information to undermine COVID-19 vaccines. New Eastern Outlook is a pseudo-academic publication of the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute of Oriental Studies that promotes disinformation and propaganda focused primarily on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It combines pro-Kremlin views of Russian academics with anti-U.S. views of Western fringe voices and conspiracy theorists. In 2022, Oriental Review shared content that denigrated the United States’ handling of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. New Eastern Outlook and Oriental Review are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf, directly or indirectly, the GoR.
Today, OFAC is targeting seven SCF employees that have helped perpetuate their false narratives. Vladimir Ilich Maksimenko (Maksimenko) and Andrey Grigoryevich Areshev (Areshev), served as Directors for SCF. Irina Sergeyevna Bubnova (Bubnova) and Anton Sergeyevich Bespalov (Bespalov), worked in editing and social media operations. Sergei Ivanovich Saenko (Saenko) monitored SCF’s social media operations. Natalya Petrovna Skorokhodova (Skorokhodova) worked to recruit and pay U.S. contributors to SCF. Yuriy Anatolyevich Prokofyev (Prokofyev) served as SCF’s president. Maksimenko, Areshev, Skorokhodova, Bubnova, Bespalov, Prokofyev, and Saenko are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for having materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, SCF, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13848.
InfoRos is a news agency that is primarily run by the GRU’s 72nd Main Intelligence Information Center (GRITs). GRITs is a unit within Russia’s Information Operations Troops, which is identified as Russia’s military force for conducting cyber espionage, influence, and offensive cyber operations. InfoRos operates under two organizations, “InfoRos, OOO” and “IA InfoRos.” InfoRos has used a network of websites, including nominally independent websites, to spread false conspiracy narratives and disinformation promoted by GRU officials, to include spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 15, 2021, InfoRos, OOO and IA InfoRos were designated pursuant to section 224(a)(1)(B) of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) , E.O. 13694 as amended, and E.O. 13382, for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of the GRU, a person designated under section 224(a)(1)(A) of CAATSA, and pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13382.
Around 2012, InfoRos reportedly began branching out throughout Russia registering over 1,000 online sites, effectively creating a network of networks that secretly distributes the Russian government’s preferred account of events. In early December 2021, a Ukraine-based InfoRos contributor submitted an editorial for publication on the InfoRos website, intended for Russian readership, blaming Ukraine for provoking Russia.
Today, OFAC is targeting nine InfoRos employees. OFAC is designating InfoRos General Directors Andrey Vitalyevich Ilyashenko and Anastasiya Sergeyevna Kirillova, InfoRos Executive Editor Maksim Borisovich Krasovskiy, InfoRos Director Nina Viktoronova Dorokhova, InfoRos web master Yevgeniya Vitalyevna Nezhdanova, InfoRos editors Aleksandra Aleksandrovna Kamyshanova, and Denis Sergeyevich Tatarchenko, InfoRos Project Director Maksim Iosifovich Krans, and InfoRos employee Valeriy Ivanovich Pogrebenkov, for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, InfoRos, OOO, pursuant to section 224(a)(l)(B) of CAATSA, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13382.
NewsFront is a Crimea-based disinformation and propaganda outlet that worked with FSB officers to coordinate a narrative that undermined the credibility of a news website advocating for human rights. NewsFront was also used to distribute false information about the COVID-19 vaccine. With the self-proclaimed goal of providing an “alternative source of information” for Western audiences, Newsfront is particularly focused on supporting Russia-backed forces in Ukraine. Newsfront was designated pursuant to section 224(a)(l)(B) of CAATSA, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13382 on April 15, 2021, for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the FSB.
Today, OFAC is targeting four NewsFront Employees. Konstantin Sergeyevich Knyrik (Knyrik), the director and founder of NewsFront, has written and published articles at the behest of FSB officers and obtained funding for NewsFront from its financial sponsor, Yuriy Sergeyevich Fedin (Fedin). NewsFront cofounder Mikhail Anatolyevich Sinelin (Sinelin) and NewsFront deputy director Yevgeniy Eduardovich Glotov (Glotov) have supported NewsFront’s attempts to establish alternate mediums in order to evade sanctions. Glotov has also written an article falsely alleging U.S. interference in Ukrainian mass media.
Knyrik is being designated pursuant to section 224(a)(l)(B) of CAATSA, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13382, for acting on or purporting to act for or behalf of, directly or indirectly, the FSB and NewsFront. Sinelin, Glotov, and Fedin are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13382, for having materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, NewsFront.
SouthFront is a disinformation site that receives taskings from the FSB. Following the 2020 U.S. presidential election, SouthFront sought to promote perceptions of voter fraud during the 2020 U.S. presidential election cycle, and was designated pursuant to E.O. 13848, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13382 on April 15, 2021, for having engaged in foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the FSB.
Since its designation, SouthFront has struggled to generate revenue and attract contributors. Attempting to evade sanctions to keep its platform alive, SouthFront solicited donations and attempted to conceal its identity from payment processors. SouthFront and its employees remain focused on attempting to influence U.S. elections through the spread of false information. Although it previously focused on the 2020 U.S. presidential election. SouthFront has also spread information suggesting that Ukraine or NATO could use chemical weapons within the country with hopes to blame it on Russia.
Today, OFAC is targeting four SouthFront employees. Denis Yakovlevich Gafner (Gafner) is involved in running the website and soliciting funds from readers. Aelita Leonidovna Mamakova (Mamakova) is responsible for soliciting financial donations from readers to SouthFront and publishing material. Aleyona Anatolyevna Chuguleva (Chuguleva) is a SouthFront employee. Valeriya Kalabayeva (Kalabayeva) produced content for SouthFront. Gafner, Mamakova, Chuguleva, and Kalabayeva are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13382, E.O. 13694, as amended, E.O. 13848 for having materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, SouthFront.
Additional Disinformation Sites
In 2020, media influence organization Project Lakhta, owned by Prigozhin, developed a new website, United World International (UWI). Since at least 2014, Project Lakhta has used among other things, fictitious online personas that posed as U.S. persons to interfere in U.S. elections, as the IRA did during the 2016 U.S. election. In 2022, UWI suggested that Ukraine would “perish” if it is admitted to NATO. UWI’s chief editor, Darya Aleksandrovna Dugina (Dugina), sought contributors to write articles on UWI. Dugina’s father, Alexander Dugin (Dugin), was first designated in 2015 pursuant to E.O. 13660 for being responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine. Dugin was a leader of the Eurasian Youth Union, which actively recruited individuals with military and combat experience to fight on behalf of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and has stated that it has a covert presence in Ukraine.
Dugin controls Geopolitica, a website that serves as a platform for Russian ultra-nationalists to spread disinformation and propaganda targeting Western and other audiences. For example, on February 8, 2022, Geopolitica published an article falsely accusing the U.S. and NATO of provoking war with Russia, in order to “further terrorize the American people in all sorts of malicious ways.”
UWI is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13661, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13848 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Prigozhin. Dugina is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13661, E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13848, for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, UWI. Geopolitica is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13660 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Dugin.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
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