US Department of State may impose sanctions on Russian billionaire Yevtushenkov
The US Department of State reacted to the request of senators that asked to consider the possibility of imposing sanctions against billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov. Washington is studying whether Yevtushenkov falls under the criteria for introducing sanctions.
The US Department of State is reviewing the possibility of imposing sanctions on principal shareholder of AFK Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenkov. Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tweeted late on August 7 that the department sent her a letter confirming its investigation in response to a letter she and another lawmaker forwarded in June asking the department to consider "punitive measures" against the oligarch.
Ros-Lehtinen and Senator Mark Walker sent an appeal to the US Department of Treasury and the Department of State and its chiefs Steven Mnuchin and Mike Pompeo with a request to study the possibility of introducing sanctions against Yevtushenkov.
“In response to my and Mark Walker letter, the US Department of State confirms investigation of Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov for possible sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act) and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for operations in illegally annexed Crimea in Uzbekistan,” the Senator wrote. She attached the response she received from the US Department of State.
“We are working vigorously to identify all transactions, entities, and individuals that meet the criteria under CAATSA for sanctions. As requested, we will investigate the information you provided about Vladimir Yevtushenkov to determine if he meets the legal requirements for sanctions under CAATSA or the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” the department replied.
The request of senators stated that the billionaire was mentioned in the so-called ‘Kremlin list’ of the US Department of Treasury. “According to publicly available information, Mr. Yevtushenkov’s companies have been involved in large-scale investment and construction projects in the Crimea region of Ukraine that has been illegally occupied and annexed by the Russian Federation,” senators added. The letter cited Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement in October 2016 that Yevtushenkov's holding company, AFK Sistema, would build medical facilities in Crimea (a record of the conversation was published on the Kremlin's website).
The company has denied investing in projects in Crimea. "The AFK Sistema Group does not conduct investment activities on the territory of Sevastopol and the Republic of Crimea," company spokesman Sergey Kopytov said.
AFK Sistema controls Russia's largest mobile phone operator, MTS, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. On August 7, the company's share price was in decline by 0.83%.
Initially, the defendants in the case had been charged with embezzlement through swindling in the amount of 225 million rubles ($3.3 million). In the final version of the indictment, the article was changed to 1.5-billion-ruble ($22.45 million) embezzlement.