Press Release / / 12.09.21

Today: New targeted US Sanctions – South Sudanese companies among 15 designations

BREAKING:

US Sanctions South Sudanese Companies Linked to President’s Inner Circle

 

December 9, 2021 (Washington, DC) – The US Department of the Treasury today sanctioned two companies linked to the sanctioned South Sudanese businessman Benjamin Bol Mel. The sanctions were imposed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as Global Magnitsky designations, which target serious human rights abuse and corruption. Coming on International Anti-Corruption Day, OFAC today issued sanctions on a total of fifteen individuals and entities across several countries in Central America, Africa, and Europe.

Bol Mel, a businessman closely tied to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, and his sanctioned companies, ARC Resources Corporation Ltd and Winners Construction Company Limited, were spotlighted in The Sentry’s recent alert “Sanctioned South Sudanese Businessmen Are Skirting US Sanctions.”

Justyna Gudzowska, Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry, said: “Today’s designations demonstrate that efforts at sanctions evasion, such as registering new companies to receive non-competitive and lucrative US dollar-denominated government contracts, will not go unnoticed. Coming on International Anti-Corruption Day, the Department of the Treasury should be commended for highlighting actors that extract unfair gains at the expense of the people of South Sudan.”

OFAC today updated its Global Magnitsky sanctions listing on the Sudanese businessman known as Al-Cardinal, the focus of a major investigative report by The Sentry in 2019.

Two individuals in Zimbabwe, Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento and General Manuel Helder Vieira Dias (known as “Kopelipa”), were also included in the new sanctions by OFAC.

J.R. Mailey, Director of Investigations at The Sentry, said: “The designation of General Kopelipa and Nascimiento should serve as a reminder of how Zimbabwe’s diamond wealth has been hijacked by kleptocrats within the security services in collusion with a range of international enablers and facilitators. With crucial presidential polls on the horizon in Zimbabwe, the international community should use the tools at its disposal to disrupt and disable funding mechanisms that might be used to finance violence or election fraud.”

US Department of the Treasury press release: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0523

See the full details of OFAC designations updated today: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20211209

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, gh@thesentry.org

About The Sentry

The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.