The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has imposed sanctions on Dubai-headquartered Huriya Private for "moving Russian finance into the UAE and money laundering".

In a statement on 19 May, the US department said it had actioned sanctions involving 22 people and 104 entities and targets, coordinated with G7 and other international partners.  

Among those individuals and entities targeted, it said Huriya Private FZE LLE (Huriya) "is a private equity and corporate structuring entity heavily involved in moving Russian finance into the UAE and money laundering. 

"Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Huriya began working quickly to move Russian assets into structures protecting them from sanctions. Huriya also helped high-net-worth Russian Federation nationals procure non-Russian passports under assumed names to avoid financial scrutiny and sanctions."

The statement continued: "Ireland national John Desmond Hanafin (Hanafin) is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Huriya. Hanafin facilitated the movement of Russian money into the UAE through Huriya. Hanafin, with assistance from corrupt government officials, also procured fraudulent passports for Russian clients wanting to hide their Russian nationality. 

"Huriya and Hanafin were designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy. Hanafin was also designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of Huriya."

The statement further said: "Hanafin's firms Cyprus-based Huriya Private Cyprus Ltd and Hong Kong-based Gold Miles Limited were designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hanafin.

It added: "Aquila Capital Group (ACG), founded and led by Russian Federation national Sergey Yevgenyevich Velichko (Velichko), is a Moscow, Russia-based investment banking firm. ACG and its Russian Federation national employee Yulia Aleksandrovna Sergeeva (Sergeeva) worked with Hanafin to start operations in the UAE and open accounts with UAE banks.

"ACG, Velichko, and Sergeeva were designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy."

II has contacted Huriya Private for a comment.

The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)  said in its opening statement that it was implementing new commitments made at the G7 Leaders' Summit to hold Russia accountable for its war. 

"From the beginning of President Putin's illegal and unprovoked war, our global coalition has focused on supporting Ukraine while degrading Russia's ability to conduct its invasion," said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. "Our collective efforts have cut Russia off from key inputs it needs to equip its military and is drastically limiting the revenue the Kremlin receives to fund its war machine. 

"Today's actions will further tighten the vise on Putin's ability to wage his barbaric invasion and will advance our global efforts to cut off Russian attempts to evade sanctions."

"OFAC's sanctions on 22 individuals and 104 entities, with touchpoints in more than 20 countries or jurisdictions, target those attempting to circumvent or evade sanctions and other economic measures against Russia, the channels Russia uses to acquire critical technology, its future energy extraction capabilities, and Russia's financial services sector. 

"Additionally, OFAC is expanding sanctions authorities to target new sectors of Russia's economy and sever Russia's access to new categories of services. The U.S. Department of State also designated or identified as blocked property almost 200 individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft. 

"The U.S. Department of Commerce is significantly expanding the territorial reach and categories covered by its export controls and adding 71 entities to its Entity List to prevent Russia from accessing goods it needs for the battlefield.

"Also today, Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a joint supplemental alert urging continued vigilance for potential Russian export control evasion. 

"This supplemental alert builds on FinCEN and BIS's first joint alert, issued in June 2022, and provides financial institutions additional information with respect to new BIS export control restrictions relating to Russia. 

"The alert also reinforces ongoing U.S. government engagements and initiatives designed to further constrain and prevent Russia from accessing needed technology and goods to supply and replenish its military and defense industrial base. It details evasion typologies and identifies additional transactional and behavioral red flags to assist financial institutions."