By Nathan Meyer, consultant in compliance, for Eurasia Business News, February 26, 2023

US Treasury building in Washington D.C., United States. Photo credit : Eurasia Business News.

The U.S. Treasury released on February 24 large-scale sanctions against Russian entities and individuals, accused to be linked to the Russian war effort. OFAC also added to its sanction list foreign individuals and entities accused of helping Russia in evading sanctions with financial and shareholding schemes.

According to OFAC, the Russian intelligence services have been directed to find channels for sanctions evasion. The U.S. Treasury stated that it will continue to impose sanctions on actors inside and outside of Russia that circumvent Western sanctions and enable Russia to procure resources critical to enabling armed conflict in Ukraine. Treasury is imposing sanctions on the following entities and individuals for their roles in sanctions evasion efforts.

OFAC considers that Swiss-Italian businessman Walter Moretti (Moretti) and his network of associates and companies have covertly procured sensitive Western technologies and equipment for Russian intelligence services and the Russian military, including hydraulic presses, armament packages, and armor plating. Moretti and his associates have also procured equipment for Russia’s nuclear weapons laboratories. 

Moretti was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation.

OFAC considers that German national Markus Gerhard Mueller (Mueller), Swiss nationals Ronald Eric Cosman (Cosman) and Bruno Koller (Koller), as well as the Switzerland-based company Swisstec 3D AKUS AG (Swisstec) have assisted Moretti in the procurement of sensitive Western technologies and equipment for Russian intelligence services and the Russian military.

Mueller, Cosman, Koller, and Swisstec were designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Moretti.

Moretti also used his UAE-based companies, Taerio Limited and Tamyna FZE, in his covert procurement schemes.

Therefore, OFAC designated Taerio Limited and Tamyna FZE pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Moretti.

The Malta-based company, Stratton Investment Group LTD, is owned by Taerio Limited. OFAC designated Stratton Investment Group LTD pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being owned or controlled by Taerio Limited.

The Swiss Italian national Frederic Pierre Villa (Villa), along with Moretti, are on the board of directors of Stratton Investment Group LTD. OFAC designated Villa pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of Stratton Investment Group LTD.

The Switzerland-based company Tamyna AG has sent numerous large wire transfers to Moretti’s company, Taerio Limited. Tamyna AG was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of Moretti.

Swiss nationals Hans-Peter Bomatter (Bomatter) and Lutwin Schommer (Schommer) are the senior managers of Tamyna AG. OFAC designated Bomatter and Schommer pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of Tamyna AG.

Lastly, the Sofia, Bulgaria-based company Taerio International LTD EOOD (Taerio International) and the Saint Petersburg, Russia-based company Interpolytrade Limited Company (Interpolytrade) are owned or controlled by Mueller.

OFAC is designating Taerio International and Interpolytrade pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Mueller.

All property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Read also : U.S. Treasury Sanctions More Russian Financial Entities

Russia launched a military operation in the morning of February 24, with the official goal to “demilitarize Ukraine”, remove the Ukrainian government and protect the right of Russians living in Donbass, Eastern Ukraine. In a televised address to Russian citizens, President Vladimir Putin stated that circumstances “require decisive and immediate action from us, the people’s republics of Donbass  have asked for help.” 

The Kremlin continues voicing that Moscow’s plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. The Russian goals would be “demilitarization and denazification” of the country.

Ukraine and its Western partners sees the Russian military operation as an invasion and imposed strong strong sanctions against Russian state officials, banks, companies, oligarchs and businessmen to put pressure on the Russian government and lead it to a ceasefire and a total withdrawal from Ukraine’s territory.

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On the Ukrainian side, the most recent announcements come from the Norwegian General Staff, which according to its intelligence services, has put the number of more than 100,000 killed and wounded. The US chief of staff had given the same estimate of casualties in November. 

On the Russian side, US intelligence and the Norwegian General Staff estimated military losses at around 180,000 and 188,000 victims at the end of January. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, which publishes a daily count of enemy soldiers “eliminated“, published on its website as of February 21, 2023 a total of 144,440 victims. 

The permanent representatives of European Union member states have agreed on February 24 a 10th package of sanctions against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU announced on Friday evening. The new sanctions package was published on the EU’s Official Journal on February 25.

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