On January 26, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Russian private military company Wagner as a transnational criminal organization.
At the same time, OFAC is taking additional actions to degrade the Russian Federation’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine by sanctioning eight individuals and 16 entities.
"Today’s expanded sanctions on Wagner, as well as new sanctions on their associates and other companies enabling the Russian military complex, will further impede Putin’s ability to arm and equip his war machine," said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen.
The Wagner Group’s activities
PMC Wagner (Wagner Group) is a Russian private military company led by Yevgeniy Prigozhin. The Wagner Group has been involved in combat operations around the world in support of Putin’s war on Ukraine. As Russia’s military has struggled on the battlefield, Putin has resorted to relying on the Wagner Group to continue his war of choice.
The Wagner Group has also meddled and destabilized countries in Africa, committing widespread human rights abuses and extorting natural resources from their people. Wagner personnel have engaged in an ongoing pattern of serious criminal activity, including mass executions, rape, child abductions, and physical abuse in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali.
Context. It became known recently that the Wagner Group was officially registered in the Russian Unified State Register of Legal Entities. The Group declared its primary activity to be "management consulting", with no mention of combat services.
In this way, Prigozhin tries to legitimize the activities of the Group, since private military companies remain illegal in Russia.