By Andria Kades
THE United States has imposed sanctions on a Cypriot national and three entities registered on the island in connection with supporting Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, it emerged on Wednesday.
They are Nicos Nicolaou and Ezegoo Investments Ltd, Primax Business consultants Ltd, and Hudsotrade Ltd registered in Limassol. The latter also has an address in Moscow.
Sanctions were imposed on a total of four natural persons and six entities – including a Russian bank.
According to a Treasury Department statement, “Nicos Nicolaou was designated today for materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of designated entities and individuals including the Government of Syria, Ioannis Ioannou, Piruseti Enterprises Ltd., and Khuri.”
Mudalal Khuri, the statement refers to, is believed to own or control five of the entities, assisting not only Syria’s government but it’s central bank too.
Ioannou, the Treasury said, served as a director and officer “for numerous Khuri-linked companies”
In 2014, Nicolaou, the director of Cyprus based Primax Business Consultants Limited, authorised it to open euro, U.S. dollar, and rouble bank accounts at a Russian bank for a company partially owned by Khuri.
He is also the director of Hudsotrade, also deemed by the Treasury of being owned or controlled by Khuri.
Additionally, Ezegoo Investments Ltd. is owned or controlled by Ioannou, Khuri, Nicolaou and Primax, that has also been sanctioned, the Treasury said.
Companies headquartered in Cyprus, Syria and Belize reportedly helped the Syrian central bank evade international sanctions.
Russian Financial Alliance Bank was also sanctioned, as well as its 19 per cent shareholder Kirsan Ilyumzinov.
One of the individuals includes Syrian businessman George Haswani who is accused by the US of facilitating oil purchases for Damascus through the HESCO Engineering and Construction Company, which the State Department said he controls.