On April 12, the US State Department and Treasury Department announced new sanctions in connection with Russia’s war in Ukraine, as well as against individuals and legal entities, which, according to the US, help Russia circumvent the sanctions already imposed. The new sanctions lists include 120 entities and individuals in 20 countries.

A statement from U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken emphasized that the measures being taken by the U.S. in coordination with the United Kingdom are targeting sanctions evasion network supporting one of Russia’s wealthiest billionaires, Alisher Usmanov, who is already under U.S. sanctions.

The sanctions are imposed against USM Holding, through which the entrepreneur controls most of his companies, the report said. Among the companies belonging to USM and falling under sanctions are Russian cell phone operator Megafon, Russia’s largest iron ore producer Metalloinvest, including Metalloinvest’s subsidiaries in Switzerland and the UAE and the operator of the Udokan copper project in Russia.

As we reported earlier, the sanctions list (SDN List) also included Akhangarancement, a cement producer from Uzbekistan, and its founder Akkermann Cement CA, established by a USM holding company of Alisher Usmanov. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a licence to wind down transactions involving a number of companies on the new sanctions list, including Akkermann Cement CA, until July 11.

The sanctions list includes natives and citizens of Uzbekistan:

  • Ismailova Gulbahor Burkhanovna — the citizenship column includes Uzbekistan, Russia and Cyprus, the sister of Alisher Usmanov, with whom she co-owns The Sister Trust. Ismailova is also subject to EU, Swiss and British sanctions. Together with Zunnur Ismailov, she is listed among the founders of the Fyodorovich Clinical Sanatorium in Tashkent;
  • Gulnoz Zunnurovna Kocharova is a citizen of Uzbekistan, Russia and Cyprus. She is listed as a director of Almenor Holdings in Cyprus;
  • Shokhrukh Olimzhonovich Nasirkhojaev — citizen of Uzbekistan. He is the general director of Hamriyah Steel, a steel-rolling plant in the UAE (part of Metalloinvest);
  • Nasiba Erkinovna Narzieva is a citizen of Uzbekistan and the wife of Shohrukh Nasirkhojaev;
  • Saodat Burkhanovna Narzieva — citizen of Uzbekistan, sister of Alisher Usmanov and mother of Nasiba Narzieva. It was previously reported that she works as an obstetrician-gynecologist and has more than 30 years of experience in medicine;
  • Nathan Adadievich Wiener is a citizen of Germany and Russia. Alisher Usmanov’s stepson. A businessman who owns a number of companies in Moscow, including a consulting firm. According to the report, he owns luxury real estate on the beach in Latvia.

Almenor, Klaret Aviation and Navis Marine, owned by The Sister Trust and registered in Cyprus, based in the Cayman Islands, fell under restrictive measures. In addition, the list included three more Cypriot companies allegedly owned by Usmanov: Windfel, Savoler and Miramonte Investments. The latter (8.2% along with Metallinvest (41.9%) own shares in the Tashkent Metallurgical Plant.

The United States also imposed sanctions against Demetrios Sergides, a Cypriot citizen. According to the U.S. authorities, he is an adviser to Usmanov and deals with financial matters on behalf of the businessman. Washington calls Sergides a protector (trustee) of The Sister Trust.

The SDN list also includes Digital Invest, where MegaFon previously sold a stake to its own owner USM Telecom. The company has a 51-percent stake in Digital Holding, a joint venture with the Uzbek authorities that owns the mobile operator Ucell (Coscom), the Uzbek labeling system operator CRPT Turon, the telecommunications services company Pervaya Bashennaya Kompaniya (together with Coscom — 99 percent), and New Solutions.

At the same time, the US Department of Finance made an exception and issued a permanent licence for any transactions, including sales of American goods and technologies in favor of MegaFon or Digital Invest, if these transactions are aimed at provision of telecommunications services in Tajikistan or Uzbekistan.

According to RBC, MegaFon called the U.S. sanctions unfair, illegal and groundless. “We are a commercial company providing services of high social importance to millions of customers. We intend to challenge these restrictions by all means available to us,” the company said.

The U.S. Commerce Department has imposed export restrictions against a number of companies, including two companies from Uzbekistan, Alfa Beta Creative and GFK Logistic Asia, in addition to Treasury Department sanctions. According to the agency, they tried to circumvent sanctions by buying U.S. goods for the needs of the Russian military and defence industry.

According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities of Uzbekistan, Alfa Beta Creative was registered in Tashkent on June 6, 2022 with a charter capital of 2 million soums and founder Svetlana Karimovna Haidari. The main activity is wholesale of other office equipment and machinery.

GFK Logistic Asia was established on March 28, 2018, the authorized capital is 200 million soums. It provides services in the field of overland transport. The founders are Albert Abdusamatovich Shukurov and GFK Logistic Asia.