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U.S. Sanctions Kadyrov Associates Over Human Rights Abuses

Treasury Department sanctions six companies and five individuals under Magnitsky Act.

Commentators say Ramzan Kadyrov has "carte blanche" to rule over the Russian republic of Chechnya. Yelena Afonina / TASS

The United States slapped sanctions on a handful of companies and individuals connected to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Thursday, accusing them of “gross human rights violations” including “torture, extrajudicial executions and illegal abductions.”

The network was implicated in the 2015 assassination of leading Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov and the torture and murder of Chechen men suspected of being gay in an anti-LGBT purge which first came to light in 2017.

The U.S. Treasury Department added six companies it said were owned or controlled by Kadyrov as well as five individuals close to the Chechen strongman to its Office of Foreign Assets Control’s list of sanctioned entities. Sanctioned individuals and companies are barred from holding assets in the U.S. and from conducting business with American firms and individuals.

The companies include football club Akhmat Grozny, which competes in Russia’s top flight and two mixed martial arts (MMA) clubs associated with Kadyrov. The Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation — a secretive public investment fund — and two of its corporate subsidiaries were also sanctioned. 

Akhmad Kadyrov, who many of the companies are named after, is Ramzan’s father. He was assassinated in 2004 in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

The sanctioned individuals included Timur Dugazaev, Kadyrov’s representative in Europe, Vakhit Usmayev, Chechnya’s Deputy Prime Minister and three others.

The U.S. sanctioned Ramzan Kadyrov himself in 2017.

In a statement Thursday, the Treasury Department said the individuals were part of a Kadyrov-controlled network — dubbed the “Kadyrovtsy” — which “has engaged in serious human rights abuses.”

The U.S. said Kadyrov and his associates have been accused of “illegal abductions, torture, extrajudicial executions, and other abuses, including the detention of journalists and activists.” The Treasury Department said the individuals — acting “under the guidance of Kadyrov” — were responsible for the “kidnapping, torturing and killing members of the LGBTI population in the Chehen Republic” and were “implicated” in the 2015 assassinaton of leading Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

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