The USA’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned Malta-based Vassiliades & CO. Malta Limited due to its links to Cypriot lawyer Christodoulos Vassiliades, “a prolific enabler of Russian oligarchs”, according to the US Department of State.
Mr Vassiliades is one of the firm’s four directors and is a 50 per cent shareholder. It was registered as a company in Malta in 2013 and received authorisation from the Malta Financial Services Authority to provide fiduciary services in 2015.
He was targeted due to being at the centre of a web of trusts and offshore companies which were linked to Alisher Usmanov, a Russian-Uzbek oligarch who is subject to sanctions across multiple jurisdictions.
Mr Usmanov is one of Russia’s wealthiest billionaires, with a suspected net worth of over $19.5 billion (€17.8 billion) and is known to be close to the country top officials, including President Vladimir Putin.
The Treasury’s intention is to disrupt Russia’s importation of critical technologies used in its war against Ukraine and its access to the international financial system, by targeting individuals and firms which have been used to circumvent international sanctions.
This led to the US Department of Treasury issuing sanctions on Mr Vassiliades, his family and other firms associated linked to him.
The UK joined the targeted sanctions on Mr Vassiliades for acting as ‘financial fixers’ for Mr Usmanov, and another Russian oligarch known as Roman Abramovich with a suspected net worth of $14.5 billion (€13.1 bilion).
This is the latest wave of US sanctions related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which have affected firms based in Malta. The most recent case was the sanctioning of Stratton Investment Group due to links with Walter Moretti, a Swiss – Italian businessman alleged to have of procured Western products for the Russian military and nuclear weapons laboratories.
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