12/02/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/02/2021 09:42
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in response to the Lukashenka regime's blatant disregard for international norms and the wellbeing of its own citizens, is designating 20 individuals and 12 entities and identifying three aircraft as blocked property pursuant to Executive Orders (E.O.) 14038 and 13405. The persons designated today have enabled the regime's migrant smuggling into the European Union (EU), have taken part in the ongoing crackdown on human rights and democracy, and have propped up the regime financially. As part of today's action, Treasury is also imposing restrictions on dealings in new issuances of Belarusian sovereign debt in the primary and secondary markets, aligning with actions recently taken by allies and partners. These actions reaffirm the U.S. government's commitment to impose costs on the Lukashenka regime for enabling corruption, human rights abuses, inhumane exploitation of vulnerable people and orchestration of irregular migration, and attacks against democratic freedoms and international norms.
"The United States stands alongside its international partners and allies in imposing costs on the Lukashenka regime for its deplorable behavior, including migrant smuggling," said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. "Treasury will continue to work with the international community to address the Lukashenka regime's repression, corruption, and flaunting of internationally recognized human rights."
Today's action comprises Treasury's fifth tranche of Belarus-related sanctions since the fraudulent August 9, 2020 presidential election in Belarus. It continues the U.S. government's coordinated, international effort with its transatlantic partners to hold the Lukashenka regime to account. This action is being taken in coordination with the EU, the United Kingdom (UK), and Canada and reflects the United States' commitment to acting with its allies and partners to demonstrate a broad unity of purpose. As noted in Treasury's recent sanctions review, sanctions are most effective when coordinated where possible with allies and partners who can magnify the economic and political impact.
As part of today's action, OFAC is issuing a new Belarus-related directive to hold the Lukashenka regime accountable for its actions and align with recent actions by U.S. partners and allies. Directive 1 under E.O. 14038 prohibits transactions in, provision of financing for, or other dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States in new debt with a maturity of greater than 90 days issued on or after December 2, 2021 by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus. OFAC determined that the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus and the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, which are involved in the issuance of new debt for the Government of Belarus (GoB), are political subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities of the GoB pursuant to E.O. 14038, as described in Directive 1 under E.O. 14038. OFAC is providing additional public guidance on the scope and implications of Directive 1 under E.O. 14038 through the issuance of several Frequently Asked Questions (939, 940, 941, 942, 943, 944, 945, 946, 947, and 948) available on the Treasury website.
Since June 2021, partners and allies, including the EU, UK, Canada, and Switzerland, have targeted new issuances of Belarusian sovereign debt in the primary and secondary markets in an effort to hold the Lukashenka regime responsible for its ongoing malign behavior. The addition of U.S. restrictions on dealings in new issuances of Belarusian sovereign debt in the primary and secondary markets demonstrates close coordination with partners and allies to restrict the Lukashenka regime's access to international capital markets.
Since June 2021, when U.S.-sanctioned Alyaksandr Lukashenka (Lukashenka) threatened, in response to EU sanctions, to erode EU border security by allowing the trafficking of drugs and migrants, his regime has orchestrated irregular migration across its borders into neighboring EU member states Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The Lukashenka regime is luring migrants, including many families with small children, to travel to Belarus by coordinating the issuance of visas, increasing flights from the Middle East to Belarus, and then transporting people to the borders of EU member states. Once at the border, Belarusian officials direct and force migrants across the border to facilitate their passage into the EU. Belarusian authorities do not allow them to return to Minsk, so many migrants are now stuck at the border in Belarus, exposed to harsh winter conditions that have already claimed the lives of at least a dozen vulnerable individuals.
Republican Unitary Enterprise Tsentrkurort (Tsentrkurort), Belarus's state-owned tourism company, has played a key role in orchestrating irregular migration via Belarus to the EU. Tsentrkurort is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, the GoB. In addition, OFAC is designating seven GoB officials who hold leadership positions in the Belarusian State Border Committee, the state body responsible for border security and policy. Those officials are: Chairman Anatol Lapo; Deputy Chairmen Ihar Butkevich, Raman Podlineu, Ihar Pechan, and Siarhei Novikau; and the heads of two border groups responsible for sections of the border with the EU, Konstantin Molostov and Igor Gutnik. Each of these officials is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been an official of the GoB.
OFAC is also designating JSC Transaviaexport Airlines (Transaviaexport), a GoB-controlled cargo carrier in Belarus that has shipped thousands of tons of ammunition and weapons to foreign conflict zones, such as in Libya. Transaviaexportis being designated for operating or having operated in the transportation sector of the economy of Belarus and for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB. Two aircraft, EW-78843 and EW-78779,are being identified as property in which Transaviaexporthas an interest.
OFAC is designating five entities that either produce or export Belarusian defense materials and supply funds to the Lukashenka regime. The Belarusian defense industry focuses on the development and production of military radio-electronics, optics and optical electronics (including for use in satellites), chassis for missile systems, and software for military information systems and weapons control systems. Most of the Belarusian defense industry's profits go toward the state budget and are not reinvested in the industry itself.
CJSC Beltechexport (Beltechexport) is an authorized state special exporter in Belarus and an integral part of the Belarusian defense industry. Closely associated with the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, Beltechexport exports weapons and military equipment produced by Belarusian state-owned enterprises (SOEs) worldwide. Beltechexport is a direct participant in establishing military-technical cooperation between Belarus and other countries, thereby providing ongoing financial and economic support to the GoB. Beltechexport is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the economy of Belarus. The EU and UK sanctioned Beltechexport in December 2020.
AGAT Electromechanical Plant OJSC (AGAT) and Joint Stock Company 140 Repair Plant (140 Repair Plant) are SOEs that produce special purpose equipment for Belarusian military and law enforcement agencies. In particular, AGAT's riot control barrier system and 140 Repair Plant's armored vehicles were deployed against peaceful demonstrators after the fraudulent August 2020 presidential election in Belarus. AGAT and 140 Repair Plant are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or having acted for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB. The EU and UK sanctioned AGAT and 140 Repair Plant in December 2020.
Kidma Tech OJSC (Kidma Tech) and JSC Peleng (Peleng) are key firms in the Belarusian defense industry. Kidma Tech - formerly known as BSVT-New Technologies until a recent rebranding - produces and exports defense equipment, including surveillance systems, on behalf of the Lukashenka regime. Peleng, an SOE, not only manufactures defense products but also produces equipment for forensic, security, and surveillance systems. KidmaTechand Peleng are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Belarus economy. Pelengis also being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the security sector of the Belarus economy.
OOO Gardservis (Gardservis) is the first government-backed security force to be established within Belarus and has ties to both the Lukashenka regime and U.S.-designated Aliaksey Aleksin. Gardservis derives its right to own military weapons and provide security services in Belarus from an order signed by Lukashenka himself in 2020. Gardservis is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the security sector of the Belarus economy.
INCREASED SANCTIONS ON THE POTASH SECTOR OF THE BELARUS ECONOMY
OFAC is designating additional entities to limit the financial benefits that the Lukashenka regime derives from potash exports. These designations follow OFAC's August 9, 2021 designation of the major potash entity in Belarus, the Belarusian SOE Belaruskali OAO.
Open Joint Stock Company Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) handles the trading and exportation of potash for Belaruskali OAO. Owned by multiple Belarusian SOEs, including Belaruskali OAO, BPCis a key facilitator of Belarus potash exports worldwide. BPC is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the potash sector of the economy of Belarus. In addition, BPC subsidiary Agrorozkvit LLC (Agrorozkvit) is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, BPC.
In addition, OFAC is issuing Belarus General License 5 (GL 5) to provide U.S. persons approximately 120 days in which to wind down transactions involving BPC or Agrorozkvit, or any entity in which BPC or Agrorozkvit owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, including the wind down of such transactions in which Belaruskali OAO has a property interest.
Another potash company that provides revenue to the Lukashenka regime is Foreign Limited Liability Company Slavkali (Slavkali), which produces potash fertilizers in Belarus. Slavkali is currently constructing a mining facility that is the largest investment project in Belarus. Slavkali is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the potash sector of the economy of Belarus.
As part of the designation of Slavkali, OFAC is identifying a luxury helicopter, EW-001PH, as property in which Slavkali has an interest. Painted in the colors of the Belarusian flag with the state seal emblazoned on the seats, EW-001PH was purchased by and is owned by Slavkali and has been used to ferry Lukashenka between his suburban residence and Minsk.
To continue to expose and pressure those repressing civil society in Belarus, OFAC is designating ten senior officials of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption of the MVD of the Republic of Belarus (GUBOPiK): its head, Andrey Parshin; deputies Oleg Larin, Denis Chemodanov¸ and Mikhail Bedunkevich; and divisional leaders Vasiliy Sysoyev, Dmitriy Kovach, Aleksandr Zhivlyuk¸ Andrei Makarevich, Vladimir Vashkevich, and Aleksandr Alyoksa. OFAC designated GUBOPiK on June 21, 2021, pursuant to E.O 13405 for being responsible for, or having participated in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus. GUBOPiK and its members have physically suppressed and detained participants in peaceful protest actions preceding and following the fraudulent 2020 presidential election in Belarus.
All ten GUBOPiK officials are being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been an official of the GoB.
OFAC is designating Alyaksandr Lukashenka's middle son Dzmitry Lukashenka (Dzmitry) pursuant to E.O. 13405 for being a senior-level official, a family member of such an official, or a person closely linked to such an official who is responsible for or has engaged in public corruption related to Belarus. Dzmitry'solder brother Viktar and father Alyaksandr have been sanctioned since 2006 when they were included in the Annex to E.O. 13405.In addition, OFAC is designating the Republican State-Public Association Presidential Sports Club (Presidential Sports Club), which Dzmitry leads. The Presidential Sports Club is part of an alleged corruption scheme in Belarus. The Presidential Sports Club is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13405 for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Dzmitry. The EU sanctioned Dzmitry in June 2021.
Dmitriy Mikhaylovich Korzyuk (Korzyuk) is the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and the former head of the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate. Korzyukis a close associate of Viktar Lukashenka and Dzmitry Lukashenka. Korzyuk is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been an official of the GoB.
A member of the executive committee of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian NOC), which OFAC designated on August 9, 2021, Dzmitriy Yurievich Baskau (Baskau) resigned from his position in charge of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation after the International Ice Hockey Federation suspended him in September 2021 for allegedly threatening Belarusian athletes for their political views. Soon thereafter, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, praising Baskau's loyalty, appointed him to Belarus's upper legislative chamber, the Council of the Republic. Baskau coaches Lukashenka's youngest son, Mikalay, as well as Lukashenka's presidential hockey team, and has long benefited from his connections to and public support for the Lukashenka regime and family. Baskau, alongside Dzmitry Shakuta, whom OFAC designated on August 9, 2021, is also alleged to have been involved in the murder of Belarusian opposition activist and children's art teacher Raman Bandarenka in November 2020. Baskauis being designated pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been an official of the GoB and for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the Belarusian NOC.
As a result of Treasury's actions, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described 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. OFAC's regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.