US imposes crippling sanctions on Alrosa

In what could be a significant blow to Russia, the US has designated state-run mining company Alrosa in its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) roster, which increases sanctions that carry substantial economic impacts on Russian companies.

The order, issued by the Department of Treasury’s Office for Assets Control, came on top of prevailing sanctions prohibiting US companies from dealing with the mining company, freezing all of Alrosa’s US assets and restricting US companies from dealing with the mining giant.

The new sanctions directive also covers companies owned by international conglomerates directly importing rough and polished diamonds from Russia that were previously not explicitly covered by the sanctions by the US issued in March.

According to Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the Department of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, “These sanctions will continue to apply pressure to key identities that enable and fund Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine.”

He also noted that the actions “reflect our continued effort to restrict the Kremlin’s access to assets, resources, and sectors of the economy that are essential to supplying and financing Putin’s brutality”.

Alrosa, which is 33 per cent owned by the Russian government, has also been sanctioned earlier by the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and the Bahamas.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US government has named Alrosa as one of the companies facing “expansive economic measures” to disrupt the worldwide supply and trading of diamonds.

The initial sanctions order prohibited US-based companies from pursuing all new financial activities and transactions with companies identified in the directive.

The order also implicated Russian elites and families believed to be closely associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which targeted Alrosa CEO Sergei S. Ivanov, whose father Sergei B. Ivanov has also been identified as an official of the Russian government.

Alrosa is one of the largest international mining companies headquartered in Russia. It accounts for an estimated 95 per cent of diamonds produced in the country and around 30 per cent per cent of diamonds extracted worldwide.

Following the sanctions, the company has also withdrawn many of its chairmanship and membership positions in international organisations and councils.

More reading
UK government announces direct sanctions on Alrosa
Economic sanctions on Russia seen to impact diamond trade
Recovery in diamond market as Alrosa, De Beers record positive results

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