US Imposes Sanctions on the UAE for Funding Wagner Mercenaries
Entities in the UAE, the Central African Republic, and Russia implicated in illegal gold transactions to finance Wagner Group mercenaries face US sanctions.
The US Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions on entities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Central African Republic, and Russia for their involvement in illicit gold transactions used to fund the Wagner Group mercenaries.
According to an official US statement, Wagner Group mercenaries have been responsible for heinous crimes and criminal activities that threaten the peace, good governance, prosperity, and human rights of nations and the exploitation of their natural resources.
The targeted entities in the UAE, the Central African Republic, and Russia have been found to engage in illegal gold transactions to support and expand the armed forces of the Wagner Group.
The US Treasury Department announced sanctions on four companies associated with the Wagner Group and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin. These illicit gold transactions have been identified as a means of financing the Wagner Group, allowing them to sustain and increase their presence in Ukraine and some African countries.
The United States has issued a directive shedding light on the risks posed by the gold trade in Sub-Saharan Africa and encouraging participants in this sector to enhance due diligence practices, “in light of increasing disturbing reports regarding the role of illicit actors in the gold trade, including the Wagner Group,” with the involvement of countries, including the UAE.
The recent rebellion by the Russian Wagner Group and the uncertainty surrounding its future have brought its external connections, particularly with the UAE, into sharp focus, given the long history of criminal links between Abu Dhabi and the group.
The UAE swiftly responded to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s announcement, the leader of the Wagner Group, regarding the coup against the Russian military, accusing him of killing thousands of his fighters just two days ago, by calling on the Russians to de-escalate the situation.
The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement expressing its deep concern over the recent tensions in friendly Russia caused by a rebellion within the military forces, threatening further escalation and instability in the region.
The UAE emphasized its position calling for the necessity of adherence to de-escalation and self-restraint, while also stressing the importance of maintaining the unity and stability of the Russian Federation to ensure the security and prosperity of its friendly people.
However, according to observers, this diplomatic statement from the UAE conceals many concerns about Abu Dhabi’s worries regarding the fate of the Wagner Group and the potential exposure of further details about their close ties over the years.