U.S. Expands Sanctions on the Belarusian Regime, Marking the Three-Year Anniversary of the Fraudulent August 2020 Presidential Election
U.S. Expands Sanctions on the Belarusian Regime, Marking the Three-Year Anniversary of the Fraudulent August 2020 Presidential Election

Treasury Targets Belarusian Individuals and Entities Operating as Funding Sources for the Regime and Obstructors of Free Information 

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating eight individuals and five entities identifying one aircraft as blocked property on the three-year anniversary of the Belarusian authorities’ falsification of the August 2020 presidential election and their callous crackdown on the Belarusian protest movement demanding fundamental freedoms. This action targets several entities involved in the Belarusian regime’s continued civil society repression, complicity in the Russian Federation’s unjustified war in Ukraine, and enrichment of repressive Belarusian regime leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka. This action is taken alongside other recent actions of our partners and Allies, further highlighting the unified view that Belarus’s prolonged subjugation of its people and its continued support of Russia’s war against Ukraine remain a global concern.  

The individuals and entities OFAC is targeting today include three state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the director and a subsidiary of one of the SOEs, one Government of Belarus (GoB) agency and four of its employees, three individuals facilitating sanctions evasion in support of Lukashenka’s regime, and one aircraft identified as blocked property.

“Today’s actions disrupt the state-owned enterprises and key government officials the authoritarian Lukashenka regime relies on to generate substantial revenue to support its fiercely undemocratic and repressive policies,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson. “In line with our partners and Allies, we will continue to ensure that the regime pays a price for its abysmal treatment of its own citizens and that our measures in response to Russia’s aggression cannot be circumvented through Belarus.”

Concurrently, the Department of State is taking action to impose visa restrictions on 101 regime officials and their affiliates under Presidential Proclamation 8015 for their involvement in undermining or suppressing democratic institutions in Belarus. This includes several judges responsible for issuing unjust and excessive politically motivated sentences against Belarusians for exercising their fundamental freedoms, including through posting their grievances about the regime on social media. 

 

REVENUE GENERATING STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES 

Open Joint Stock Company Belavia Belarusian Airlines (BELAVIA) is the state-owned flagship carrier of Belarus.  Following the unlawful diversion of Ryanair Flight 4978 on May 23, 2021 to arrest a political activist, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued Order 2021-7-1 to prohibit ticket sales and interline passage with the United States. The European Union (EU) simultaneously revoked BELAVIA’s access to Member States’ airspace and airports.  BELAVIA was previously designated by the EU on December 2, 2021, for instructing employees not to protest against the fraudulent election and for opening new routes to facilitate unauthorized migration from several countries in the Middle East to the EU.  

OFAC is designating BELAVIA pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB.

EW-301PJ is a Canadair Regional Jet CR-200ER aircraft, operated by BELAVIA,and used by high-ranking officials and family members of the U.S.-sanctioned regime leader, Alyaksandr Lukashenka. 

OFAC is identifying EW-301PJ pursuant to E.O. 14038 as property in which BELAVIA has an interest.

Open Joint Stock Company Minsk Civil Aviation Plant 407 (Minsk Civil Aviation Plant 407) is a state-owned company, and one of the biggest aircraft component manufacturer and repair facilities in Belarus.  In a February 2023 meeting between Lukashenka and U.S.-sanctioned President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Minsk Civil Aviation Plant 407 was highlighted as a key facility for Belarusian production to meet Russia’s civil and military aircraft demand.

OFAC is designating Minsk Civil Aviation Plant 407 pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB.

Joint Stock Company Byelorussian Steel Works Management Company of Holding Byelorussian Metallurgical Company (BSW), one of the five largest Belarusian SOEs, produces various steel products for domestic and export markets, providing the Lukashenka regime with millions in revenue. On August 3, 2023, the EU designated BSW.

OFAC is designating BSW pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GoB.

Dmitriy Aleksandrovich Korchik (Korchik) is the General Director of BSW.

OFAC is designating Korchik pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being a leader or official of the GoB.

BEL-KAP-STEEL LLC (BKS LLC) is a small Miami, Florida-based joint venture with BSW. Fifty percent of BKS LLC shares are held by BSW, of which 100 percent of the voting capital is held by the GoB.  

OFAC is designating BKS LLC pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, BSW.

 

TOBACCO FAMILY MOGULS CONTINUING TO ENRICH LUKASHENKA

U.S.-designated Belarusian businessman Aliaksey Ivanavich Aleksin (Aleksin) is a close confidant of Lukashenka and is broadly known as one of Lukashenka’s “wallets,” receiving preferential treatment from the GoB in exchange for: providing funds to Lukashenka and other members of his inner circle; financing Lukashenka’s personal projects; and supporting the regime publicly. OFAC designated Aleksin on August 9, 2021 for being a person closely linked to a senior-level official who is responsible for or has engaged in public corruption related to Belarus.  

Shortly before his designation, Aleksin transferred ownership in several key businesses to his sons, Dzmitry Aliakseevich Aleksin (Dzmitry) and Vital Aliakseevich Aleksin (Vital), and his wife Ina Vladimirovna Aleksina (Ina). As a result of Lukashenka’s corruption, these businesses control significant portions of the tobacco products and transportation sectors of the Belarus economy and continue to enrich both Aleksin and Lukashenka through Dzmitry, Vital, and Ina.  On June 3, 2022, the EU sanctioned Dzmitry and Vital for benefitting from the Lukashenka regime. OFAC is adding Aleksin’s sons and wife to its List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) today in order to further enforce its previous sanctions actions against Aleksin and impede Lukashenka’s access to discrete funds. 

OFAC is designating Dzmitry, Vital, and Ina pursuant to E.O. 14038 for operating or having operated in the tobacco products and transportation sectors of the Belarus economy.

 

OPPRESSORS OF INDEPENDENT MEDIA AND CIVIL SOCIETY ACTORS 

Department of Financial Investigations of The State Control Committee of the Republic of Belarus (DFR) is the investigative arm of, and sister agency to, the Department of Financial Monitoring (DFM), Belarus’ Financial Intelligence Unit. The DFR raided the editorial office of the largest independent online news site and the homes of several staff and blocked its website. The agency launched a probe against the independent online media outlet in what human rights groups, and media freedom watchdogs denounced as the Belarusian authorities’ crackdown on the country’s pro-democracy movement and free media. 

OFAC is designating DFR pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, actions or policies that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms (including freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, religion or belief, and movement) by individuals in Belarus, or that limit access to the internet or print, online, or broadcast media in Belarus, and, for being a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Belarus.

Additionally, OFAC is designating the following four individuals affiliated with DFR:

  • Igor Anatolievich Marshalov (Marshalov) is the Deputy Chairman of the State Control Committee and Director of the DFR. Marshalov was previously designated by the EU.
  • Victor Frantsevich Selitskiy (Selitskiy) is a Deputy Director at the DFR.
  • Viktor Ivanovich Franskevich (Franskevich) is a Deputy Director at the DFR.  
  • Artem Konstantinovich Dunko (Dunko) is a Senior Investigator at the DFR who engaged in politically motivated investigations prior to and following the August 2020 presidential election, particularly investigations of alleged corruption, money laundering and tax evasion launched against opposition leaders and activists. Dunko was previously designated by the EU and United Kingdom for his role in the fraudulent politically motivated investigations. 

OFAC is designating these four officials, Marshalov, Selitskiy, Franskevich, and Dunko, pursuant to E.O. 14038 for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the DFR, an entity that has engaged in actions that limit access to the internet or print, online, or broadcast media in Belarus, and for being or having been a leader or official of the GoB.

 

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, 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. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. 

In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. 

The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s FAQ 897.

Click here for more information on the individuals, entities, and aircraft sanctioned today.

 

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Official news published at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy1682