×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Yemen Separatists Seize $225M in Russian-Printed Cash

The UN calls the war between separatists and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Najeeb Almahboobi / EPA / TASS

Separatists in southern Yemen have seized 64 billion riyals ($255 million) in banknotes that Russia had printed for the country’s central bank, Moscow confirmed Wednesday.

Forces loyal to a council that declared self-rule in southern Yemen’s port of Aden in April commandeered the cash convoy leaving the port, Reuters cited Yemen’s central bank as saying Saturday. The seizure threatens the nominal alliance between Aden’s separatists and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in a war against rebels linked to Iran, which the UN calls the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

“The incident did take place in the southern Yemeni capital city of Aden,” Interfax quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying at a press briefing.

Zakharova said Russia’s Goznak, one of the world’s largest printers of banknotes and coins, has been printing money for Yemen’s government as part of a commercial contract signed in 2017.

An unnamed Yemeni government source, in comments to Reuters, called the seizure “piracy.” The separatists said it was “part of several measures to end sources of corruption” and financing terrorism with public money.

Last month, Malta seized $1.1 billion worth of currency printed by Goznak destined for Libya. The U.S. State Department said it “commended” the move while Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied the countries’ claims that the money was counterfeit.

In its denial, the Foreign Ministry noted that Libya has two central banks because the country has two de-facto governments.

A Saudi-led coalition and Yemen's internationally recognized government have been at war for the past five years against Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control much of the north including the capital Sanaa.

Separatists in the south, which used to be an independent country, have repeatedly agitated to break away again — a campaign that was temporarily put to rest with a power-sharing, coalition-sponsored deal signed in Riyadh last November.

But the Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared self-rule in southern Yemen on April 26, accusing the government of failing to perform its duties and of "conspiring" against the separatists' cause.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more