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Firm linked to alleged Dan-Bunkering Syrian war activities under sanction

26 Sep 2019

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Thursday (27 September) placed one entity, three individuals, and five vessels under sanctions for participating in a sanctions evasion scheme to facilitate the delivery of jet fuel to Russian forces operating in Syria. 

Specifically, OFAC designated Maritime Assistance LLC, a front company supporting the U.S-designated company OJSC Sovfracht (Sovfracht) originally designated for operating in Ukraine. 

Sovfracht is behind a sanctions evasion conspiracy, orchestrated by the three individuals (Ivan Okorokov, Karen Stepanyan, and Ilya Loginov) to make payments and facilitate the transfer of supplies of jet fuel to Russian forces operating in Syria in support of the Assad government. 

In addition, OFAC identified five vessels namely YAZ (IMO 9735323), SIG (IMO 9735335), SUDAK (IMO 8943155), PASSAT (IMO 8523242), and OT-2077 (IMO 9025778) as blocked property of Transpetrochart Co. Ltd., a Russian company designated by OFAC in December 2016 for providing material support to Sovfracht.

OFAC designated Russian shipping company Sovfracht-Sovmortrans Group and its subsidiary, Sovfracht, in September 2016 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.  

Following its designation, Sovfracht relied on vessels owned by another U.S.-designated entity — Transpetrochart Co. Ltd. — to make deliveries of jet fuel to Syria.

OFAC coordinated the action with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

“The FBI is proud to have been a part of the team that unravelled this complicated scheme that supplied fuel for Russian jet fighters supporting Assad’s regime,” said Alan E. Kohler, Jr, Special Agent in Charge of the Counterintelligence Division, FBI Washington Field Office. 

“The FBI will continue to work closely with our Department of Justice and Treasury partners to identify and bring to justice those individuals or entities that conspire to violate U.S. sanctions, and in turn, imperil our financial system and our national security.”

Marine fuels trading firm Dan-Bunkering, including another unidentified company, and two individuals are currently facing charges by the Danish State Prosecutor of Serious Economic and International Crime (SOIK) over alleged violation of EU Syria sanctions.

A September report from the State Prosecutor of Denmark, send by the Minister of Justice to the Danish Justice Committee in the Danish Parliament, has identified Maritime Assistance LLC and Sovfracht to be working with Dan-Bunkering.

The original report [written in Danish] can be obtained here from The Danish Parliament’s website.

Earlier coverage leading to the recent development can be found below:

Related: Update: Dan-Bunkering Syria jet fuel supply ops allegedly longer than thought
RelatedDan-Bunkering faces preliminary charges by SOIK with violation of EU Syria sanctions
RelatedInvestigations on Dan-Bunkering over alleged Syrian jet fuel deal start
RelatedDanske Bank casts doubts on Dan-Bunkering reason for Syria investigation
RelatedDanske Bank reported Dan-Bunkering to police in EU sanctions case
RelatedBunker company acknowledges flawed statement in EU sanctions case
RelatedUnioil Supply dragged into Dan-Bunkering sanctions allegations
RelatedDan-Bunkering has not violated EU’s sanctions against Syria, it insists
RelatedNordea highlights stance on compliance after Dan-Bunkering discovery
RelatedDanish media alleges Dan-Bunkering jet fuel deliveries during Syria war

Published: 27 September, 2019

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