US sanctions entities linked to "Putin's chef" Prigozhin

US sanctions entities linked to
By bne IntelliNews July 15, 2020

The US Treasury Department on July 15 imposed sanctions on individuals and entities it said enabled sanctioned Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to evade US sanctions.

As reported by bne IntelliNews, the restaurateur Yevgeny "Putin's chef" Prigozhin, allegedly also involved in the intelligence community, was first sanctioned in 2018 under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was passed by the Congress in response to Russia's involvement in the separatist conflict in Ukraine, alleged cyberattacks and election meddling. 

Now the Treasury has targeted three individuals and five entities, including those located in Sudan, Hong Kong and Thailand, that are considered to be linked to Prigozhin.

“Yevgeny Prigozhin and his network are exploiting Sudan’s natural resources for personal gain and spreading malign influence around the globe,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

Those sanctioned include Russia-based M Invest, controlled or owned by Prigozhin, which the Treasury believes serves as a cover for a designated Russian Ministry of Defence proxy force cooperating with the former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.

M Invest subsidiary Meroe Gold, M Invest’s director general Andrei Mandel and Mikhail Potepkin, the regional director based in Sudan for both companies, are also sanctioned.

Back in 2017 an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) run by opposition leader Alexei Navalny claimed that billionaire restaurateur Prigozhin was involved in illegal procurement deals for the defence ministry.

Prigozhin operates several procurement schemes that have won a total of RUB180bn rubles (€282bn) in Russian defence contracts over the last five years, including multiple no-bid procurement deals, ACF claimed.