US slaps sanctions on Usmanov's business empire and Hungarian bank with Russian ties
US Ministry of Justice (photo - Erlend Bjørtvedt)

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department (OFAC) announced on Wednesday the introduction of new sanctions against Russia, which mostly concern the entourage of oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

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"Usmanov has at his disposal a wide network of businesses in financial safe havens and family members through which to conduct financial transactions, enabling him to potentially circumvent sanctions," the agency explained.

Numerous top managers of Usmanov, including the protector of his trust Demetrios Serghides and his stepson Natan Viner (along with related companies), were sanctioned.

Among legal entities, this applies to Megafon, Metalloinvest and many other companies of Usmanov and his partners in the USM holding.

In addition to Usmanov's entourage, a number of intermediaries from Turkey, Hong Kong and the UAE, who help Russia import electronics (Azu International, Dexias Türkiye, Hulm Al Sahra), quadcopters (Aeromotus) and other foreign goods (King-Pai) for defense industry.

The International Investment Bank (IIB), registered in Hungary, was also affected by the new American sanctions.

Its presence in Budapest allows Russia to engage in intelligence and malicious activities in Central Europe and the Western Balkans and can serve as a mechanism to circumvent sanctions, the US Department of Justice believes.