The founder of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, until December 2021, received $ 250 million in profit from the activities of companies that are engaged in the extraction of oil, gas, diamonds and gold in Syria, the Central African Republic and Sudan and are under sanctions, writes the Financial Times.
The journalists of the publication made their conclusion after analyzing the financial reports of the companies Europolis, M Invest and Mercury, which are part of Prigozhin’s business orbit.
The Europolis company, according to the FT, agreed with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the liberation of oil and gas fields in the country from ISIS militants, and in return received concessions for the extraction of fuel. This company, as the publication clarifies, has been under US sanctions since 2018, under European sanctions since 2019.
However, according to the FT, the restrictions imposed on Europolis had almost no effect on its activities. In 2020, the company’s revenue was $134 million and revenue was $90 million. In 2021, Europolis made a profit of $400,000, but still had $92 million on its balance sheet.
In turn, M Invest, a gold mining company in Sudan, fell under US sanctions in 2020, but its revenue the following year amounted to 2.6 million. Two more companies, whose names are not given, according to journalists, “shipped a large amount of industrial equipment” to Wagner-affiliated businesses in the Central African Republic and Sudan and earned more than $6 million in 2021.
The company “Mercury” is also associated with the extraction of natural resources in Syria – in 2021, the EU imposed sanctions against it. The publication stressed that three years earlier, she had earned $67 million, but subsequently reported “zero revenue.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was included in the US sanctions list in 2016, only confirmed in September 2022 that he had founded the Wagner PMC – before that, he denied any connection with the company.
In February 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation put Prigozhin on the wanted list on suspicion of conspiring to commit fraud against the United States, interfering in US domestic politics, and attempting to influence presidential elections between 2014 and 2016. The FBI has offered a cash reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to the businessman’s arrest. In 2022, the US State Department offered a reward of up to $10 million for information about foreign interference in US elections.
The European Union imposed sanctions against PMC Wagner in December 2021 due to the responsibility of mercenaries “for serious violations of human rights in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Central African Republic, Sudan and Mozambique, including for torture and extrajudicial, mass or arbitrary executions and killings “. The UN also accused PMC mercenaries of a series of attacks in the CAR and human rights violations – illegal detentions, rapes, torture and executions.
At the end of January, the US authorities officially declared the Wagner PMC a transnational criminal organization and imposed sanctions against structures associated with the military company and its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin.
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