Link to original U.S. Department of Treasury press release – https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1206
December 9, 2020 – Washington D.C. – Global Magnitsky designations target corrupt actors and their networks on International Anticorruption Day
Washington – Today, on International Anticorruption Day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is targeting corrupt actors and their networks across several countries in Africa and Asia. Today’s action is taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse.
“On International Anticorruption Day, Treasury is targeting corrupt actors in Africa and Asia and remains committed to imposing costs on those who exploit their positions of power for personal gain at the expense of the people,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
To raise public awareness for anti-corruption initiatives, the International Anticorruption Day has been observed annually on December 9 since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on October 31, 2003. There are currently 186 States parties to the UNCAC. In addition to sending a message against corrupt behavior, Treasury uses its tools to increase transparency, accountability, and the rule of law. With these designations, Treasury encourages all governments to implement anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing reforms to address corruption vulnerabilities.
CORRUPTION IN THE KYRGYZ REPUBLIC: Raimbek Matraimov
Raimbek Matraimov (Matraimov), a former Deputy of the Kyrgyz Customs Service, was involved in a customs scheme where at least USD 700 million was laundered from the Kyrgyz Republic. The scheme involved a company and their evasion of customs fees. The company would bribe customs officials and, in return, these customs officials would clear more expensive products as low value goods allowing for maximum profits. Additionally, the company’s goods would pass through customs terminals faster than other companies’ goods. The goods of other companies not associated with this company, and not paying bribes, would often be thoroughly inspected, unloaded from the trucks, and sit in customs warehouses for weeks, if not months. Matraimov utilized his position and ensured that the company’s goods would be able to seamlessly pass through the borders of the Kyrgyz Republic. Matraimov was in charge of collecting and distributing bribes that came from this company. Furthermore, Matraimov assisted this company in smuggling cash out of the Kyrgyz Republic via couriers. When these couriers, carrying a large amount of cash, would be approached by Kyrgyz law enforcement at an airport, the couriers would use Matraimov’s name in an attempt to continue with their journey. Matraimov, utilizing his former position as Deputy of the Kyrgyz Customs Service, made hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of his involvement in the customs scheme.
Matraimov is designated for being a foreign person who is a current or former government official responsible for or complicit in, or directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons 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, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked entities are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise 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. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the President signed E.O. 13818 on December 20, 2017, in which the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity that it threatens the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.