Brussels, Belgium (CNN) – The European Council imposed sanctions on a Russian citizen and the Meroe Gold company in Sudan, which is affiliated with the Russian private military group Wagner, for facilitating the exploitation of Sudan’s gold wealth, which confirms the results of an investigation conducted by CNN in July. last July.
The European Commission placed the Russian citizen, Mikhail Potepkin, and the Wagner Group’s branch in Sudan, Meroe Gold, of Yevgeny Prigozhin, on the sanctions list.
The European Commission’s online statement, published Saturday on its legal platform EUR-LEX, said they were included in the list due to “gross human rights violations, including torture, extrajudicial and arbitrary executions and killings, in several countries, including Sudan.” “.
According to the statement, “Mikhail Potepkin is the director of (Mirawi Gold), a company that acts as a front for the operations of the Wagner Group in Sudan, and he participates in the activities of the M-Invest company, the parent company of the Meroe Gold Company, and he has a leadership role in the Wagner Group in Sudan and has close relations with Yevgeny Prigozhin.
An investigation conducted by CNN last July was the first to reveal the mechanism by which Wagner and Miro operate for gold in Sudan, to circumvent US sanctions imposed on the group.
Multiple interviews with high-ranking Sudanese and American officials and a collection of documents reviewed by CNN last summer painted a picture of an elaborate Russian scheme to plunder Sudan’s wealth, in an attempt to immunize Russia against increasingly powerful Western sanctions and support Moscow’s military efforts in Ukraine.
The evidence also indicated that Russia colluded with the beleaguered Sudanese military leadership, allowing it billions of dollars in gold to bypass the Sudanese state and deprive the poverty-stricken country of hundreds of millions of its revenues.
In contrast, the CNN investigation found, Russia has provided strong political and military support to Sudan’s increasingly unpopular military leadership as it cracks down on the country’s pro-democracy movement.
Despite Yevgeny Prigozhin’s denials in the face of media reports, the European Council has now confirmed CNN’s findings, noting that Meroe Gold continued to operate in Sudan as a “hedge for Wagner Group operations” via a Sudanese front company.
And the European Council statement, on Saturday, said: “The Wagner Group, through its association with the Sudanese army, ensured the exploration of Sudanese gold and its export to Russia.”
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