US sanctions on Burundi, Syria & kingpins


Obama has signed an Executive Order introducing new US sanctions on Burundi, targeting individuals in the government and armed groups that contribute to the turmoil in Burundi, including by threatening its peace and security, undermining its democratic processes, and committing human rights abuses.  In its press release, the White House says it will “continue to support regional efforts to bring about a political resolution to the crisis in Burundi”.

The new measures impose an asset freeze on and prohibit doing business with:

  1. Alain Bunyoni, Minister of Public Security
  2. Godefroid Bizimana, Deputy Director-General of the National Police
  3. Godefroid Niyombare, Major General, Former Chief of Burundi Intelligence Service
  4. Cyrille Ndayirukiye, Former Minister of Defence


OFAC has designated 4 people and 6 entities for providing support to the government of Syria, including by facilitating Syrian government oil purchases from ISIL.  The press release is here.

The new listings are:

  1. George Haswani – Assisting the Government of Syria to purchase oil from ISIL, and owns or controls HESCO, a company said to operate energy production facilities in areas controlled by ISIL. Subject to EU sanctions in March 2015
  2. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov – Assisting the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria, Adib Mayaleh, and Batoul Rida and has links to Mudalal Khuri. Owns or controls the Russian Financial Alliance Bank, former president of the World Chess Federation.
  3. Mudalal Khuri – Assisting the Government of Syria and owns or controls 5 of the newly listed entities
  4. Nicos Nicolaou – Assisting the Government of Syria and several designated persons
  1. Ezegoo Investments Ltd
  2. Hesco Engineering & Construction Co (HESCO)
  3. Hudsotrade Limited
  4. Kremsont Commercial Inc.
  5. Primax Business Consultants Limited
  6. Russia Financial Alliance Bank


OFAC has designated Guadalupe Fernandez Valencia and Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo as Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficking Kingpins.  The designations are part of OFAC’s efforts to target the criminal network of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa Cartel.  In its press release, OFAC states that the two have been charged with drug trafficking and money laundering, and identified as Sinaloa Cartel lieutenants for Guzmán’s son Jesus Alfredo Guzmán.  OFAC Acting Director John Smith adds that they “ultimately bolster the power and influence of Chapo Guzman’s nefarious criminal activities”.

This entry was posted in Burundi, Syria, USA by Michael O'Kane. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael O'Kane

Michael O’Kane is a partner and Head of the Business Crime team at leading UK firm Peters & Peters. Described as ‘first-rate’ (Legal 500 2012), he “draws glowing praise from commentators” (Chambers 2013) for handling the international aspects of business crime, including sanctions, extradition and mutual legal assistance. Called to the Bar in 1992 and prior to joining Peters & Peters he was a senior specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters(CPS). At CPS HQ he was a key member of a small specialist unit responsible for the prosecution of serious and high profile fraud, terrorist and special interest criminal matters including the Stansted Airport Afghan hijacking and the prosecution of Paul Burrell (Princess Diana’s butler). Michael joined Peters & Peters in 2002. He became a partner in May 2004, and Head of the Business Crime team in May 2009. Since joining Peters & Peters, Michael has dealt with a wide range of business crime matters. He has particular expertise in international sanctions, criminal cartels, extradition, corruption, mutual legal assistance, and FSA investigations. Described as“ an influential practitioner in fraud and regulatory work, so much so that he is top of the referral lists of many City firms for independent advice for directors” (The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2009), he was recognised as one of the UK’s most innovative lawyers in the 2011 FT Innovative Lawyer Awards and included in the list of the UK's leading lawyers in 'The International Who's Who of Asset Recovery 2012. In 2012 he was the winner of the Global Competition Review Article of the Year. Michael regularly appears on television and radio to discuss his specialist areas and he is the author of the leading textbook on the UK Criminal Cartel Offence “The Law of Criminal Cartels-Practice and Procedure” (Oxford University Press 2009). Recent/Current Sanctions Work • Representing 109 individuals and 12 companies subject to designation by the European Council under targeted measures imposed against Zimbabwe. This is the largest and most complex collective challenge to a sanctions listing ever brought before the European Court. • Acting for a former Egyptian Minister and his UK resident wife, challenging their designation by the European Council of Ministers under targeted measures brought against former members of the Egyptian Government. • Advising a company accused in a UN investigation report to have breached UN sanctions imposed in relation to Somalia. • Advising a UK company in relation to ongoing commercial relationships with an Iranian company listed under both EU and UN sanctions. • Advising an individual in relation to a UK investigation for alleging breaching nuclear export controls.

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