A handful of Cyprus-based companies were among the 300 entities hit with US sanctions on Friday.
The three companies are Robarin Ltd, Aquila Capital Group, Huriya Private Cyprus Ltd. The list named also named Huriya Private FZE LLE, as headquartered in Dubai but connected with Cyprus.
Huriya, listed with a Strovolos address in Nicosia was used to facilitate the movement of Russian money into the UAE, according to the US office of foreign assets control (OFAC).
The company’s CEO and founder John Desmond Hanafin, an Irish national, “with assistance from corrupt government officials, also procured fraudulent passports for Russian clients wanting to hide their Russian nationality.”
Hanafin is believed to have “facilitated the movement of Russian money into the UAE through Huriya.”
Aquila Capital Group listed on Themistokli Dervi in Nicosia was founded and led by Russian Federation national Sergey Yevgenyevich Velichko. It is a Russia-based investment banking firm.
The company, along with its Russian national employee Yulia Aleksandrovna Sergeeva, worked with Hanafin to start operations in the UAE and open accounts with UAE banks.
US Ambassador to Cyprus Julie Fisher tweeted “new US sanctions target enablers of Russia’s war in Ukraine – 237 individuals & entities in 17 countries including three based in Cyprus. The US greatly appreciates Cyprus’ partnership in holding those fueling the war to account along with G7 & other partners.”
Though last month’s sanctions targeted individuals and entities who were deemed “financial fixers” for Russian oligarchs, the latest tranche expand their targeted scope, aiming to hit new sectors of Russia’s economy and sever Russia’s access to new categories of services, according to OFAC.
The sanctions also depict a separate maze targeting businessman Anselm Oskar Schmucki, embroiling Limassol registered company Robarin Ltd, which he owns or controls, along with more than a dozen other firms around the world.
According to OFAC, Schmucki “controls a global network of shell companies and has had close financial relationships with an individual charged with financial crimes and a company with suspected links to Russian organized crime and money laundering.
“Schmucki has also facilitated the sale of tens of millions of dollars of gold bullion.”
Based in the UAE, Schmucki is the Moscow branch chief for Switzerland-headquartered DuLac Capital ltd. He also holds the title regional head for Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the UAE.
He offers a variety of services, including investment management, in Russia, Switzerland, Cyprus, and the UAE.
DuLac Capital and Schmucki were sanctioned for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy.
The latest “unprecedented global sanctions and other restrictive economic measures” from the US aimed to “further degrade the Russian Federation’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine.”
Carried out in coordination with the G7 and other international partners, they target those attempting to circumvent or evade sanctions and other economic measures against Russia, the channels Russia uses to acquire critical technology, its future energy extraction capabilities, and Russia’s financial services sector, OFAC said.
“OFAC is expanding sanctions authorities to target new sectors of Russia’s economy and sever Russia’s access to new categories of services.”
Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen said: “From the beginning of President Putin’s illegal and unprovoked war, our global coalition has focused on supporting Ukraine while degrading Russia’s ability to conduct its invasion.
“Our collective efforts have cut Russia off from key inputs it needs to equip its military and is drastically limiting the revenue the Kremlin receives to fund its war machine. Today’s actions will further tighten the vise on Putin’s ability to wage his barbaric invasion and will advance our global efforts to cut off Russian attempts to evade sanctions.”