US sanctions Bulgarian firm over evasion of sanctions on Russia
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed full blocking sanctions against 22 individuals and entities, including a firm located in Bulgaria, saying the move was related to a sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex.
The Treasury Department listed U-Stone Limited EOOD “for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Alexander Volfovich”.
It designated Volfovich “for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Igor Zimenkov”.
The statement said that its February 1 action targeted a Russian sanctions evasion network led by Russia- and Cyprus-based arms dealer Igor Zimenkov.
“Persons in this network (the ‘Zimenkov network’) have engaged in projects connected to Russian defence capabilities, including supplying a Russian company with high-technology devices after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 2022,” the Treasury Department said.
Certain members of the Zimenkov network had also supported sanctioned, state-owned Russian defense entities Rosoboroneksport OAO (Rosoboroneksport) and State Corporation Rostec (Rostec), which are key parts of Russia’s military-industrial complex, the statement said.
The Treasury Department said that Igor Zimenkov had worked closely with his son Jonatan Zimenkov and a broad network of individuals and entities to enable Russian defence sales to third-country governments.
“As part of these efforts, Igor and Jonatan Zimenkov both had direct correspondence with sanctioned Russian defence firms,” the statement said.
“They have additionally been involved in multiple deals for Russian cybersecurity and helicopter sales abroad and have engaged directly with Rosoboroneksport’s potential clients to enable sales of Russian defense materiel.”
The statement said that Igor Zimenkov maintains close relationships with personnel of sanctioned Russian state-owned enterprise Rosoboroneksport and has provided information to Rostec personnel abroad. Jonatan Zimenkov has maintained Powers of Attorney for companies in the Zimenkov network on behalf of his father, Igor Zimenkov.
In addition, Igor Zimenkov had supported the Belarusian military-industrial complex by facilitating sanctioned Belarusian defense entity State Owned Foreign Trade Unitary Enterprise Belspetsvneshtechnika (BSVT)’s sales efforts in Latin America.
BSVT was previously designated for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the government of Belarus, as well as for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy, the statement said.
Igor Zimenkov was designated on February 1 for operating or having operated in the defence and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.
Jonatan Zimenkov was also designated “for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Igor Zimenkov, and for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Rosoboroneksport, a person whose property and interests in property were previously blocked”.
The Zimenkov network had used front companies to funnel money within the network while attempting to maintain a lawful appearance, the Treasury Department said.
“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated 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,” the statement said.
“In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 per cent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.”
All transactions by US persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or blocked persons are prohibited unless exempt or authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, the statement said.
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.
A check by The Sofia Globe in Bulgaria’s Commercial Register found that U-Stone Ltd was founded on June 26 2019 and has a registered address in Sofia’s Sredets district.
The company has capital of 100 leva, and the register shows two partners – Volfovich, with a shareholding of three leva, and Spare General Trading, a UAE company according to the register, with 97 leva.
Previously, Igor Zimenkov (stated in the register as Bulgarian) was a partner, with 31 leva, from June 26 2019 to November 10 2021. Max Borisovych Piflaks (Uzbekistan) was a partner, with 15 leva, from June 26 2019 to September 5 2022.
The company has not submitted financial statements to the Commercial Register, with Volfovich having submitted a declaration on June 30 2022 that in 2021 the company had carried out no activity.
(Photo: Steve McGrath)
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