US sanctions for supporting Russia's military-industrial complex target Latvian national and his company

  • 2023-02-02
  • LETA/AP/TBT Staff

WASHINGTON - The Unites States this week imposed fresh sanctions on individuals and entities supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex, including Latvian national Marks Blats and his company Elektrooptika. 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed full blocking sanctions against 22 individuals and entities across multiple countries related to a sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex.

The main targets of the latest U.S. sanctions are Russian arms dealer Igor Zimenkov, his son Jonatan and companies of the so-called Zimenkov network in Singapore, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Israel and elsewhere.  

Zimenkov together with his son and a broad network of individuals and entities have been working to enable Russian defense sales to third-country governments. As part of these efforts, Igor and Jonatan Zimenkov both had direct correspondence with sanctioned Russian defense firms, the U.S. Treasury has established. 

In addition, Igor Zimenkov has supported the Belarusian military-industrial complex by facilitating sanctioned Belarusian defense entity State Owned Foreign Trade Unitary Enterprise Belspetsvneshtechnika (BSVT)’s sales efforts in Latin America.

The new sanctions also target Israel-based company Texel F.C.G. Technology 2100 Limited (Texel), which has engaged in extensive funds transfers to Asia Trading. Among other projects connected to Russian defense capabilities, Texel and its CEO, Latvian national Marks Blats, have supplied a Russian company with electro-optic and infrared devices following the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

Blats is a high-level Zimenkov network associate and a business partner of sanctioned Belarusian individual Aliaksandr Zaitsau. In addition, OFAC took action against Elektrooptika SIA, which is owned by Blats. Elektrooptika SIA purports to operate in the business services industry.

Texel has been hit with U.S. sanctions for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Asia Trading. 

Blats has been sanctioned for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of Texel. Sanctions on Elektrooptika SIA have been imposed for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Blats.

The U.S. sanctions also target GBD Limited, a Zimenkov network company that has attempted to supply weapons systems to an African government and has sent millions of dollars to Igor Zimenkov over a period of years. Alexander Volfovich is a Cyprus-based arms broker and Zimenkov network associate.

As a result of the OFAC action, all property and interests in property of the designated 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 persons are also blocked.