US Treasury’s OFAC Sanctions Huriya Private, Its CEO, and Partners for “Moving Russian Finance Into UAE”

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on John D. Hanafin and the firm of which he is the founder and CEO, Huriya Private, for alleged facilitation of sanctions evasion on behalf of Russian clients.

According to a US Treasury press release, Hanafin and Huriya have been “involved in moving Russian finance into the UAE and money laundering.”

The raft of sanctions covers 22 individuals and 104 entities and targets “those attempting to circumvent or evade sanctions and other economic measures against Russia, the channels Russia uses to acquire critical technology, its future energy extraction capabilities, and Russia’s financial services sector.”

Huriya, says the statement, “began working quickly to move Russian assets into structures protecting them from sanctions” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Treasury also claims the firm “helped high-net-worth Russian Federation nationals procure non-Russian passports under assumed names to avoid financial scrutiny and sanctions.”

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Hanafin, continues the press release, “facilitated the movement of Russian money into the UAE through Huriya,” and “with assistance from corrupt government officials, also procured fraudulent passports for Russian clients wanting to hide their Russian nationality.”

Both the firm and its chief executive have been designated pursuant to Executive Order 14024 “for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy. Hanafin was also designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of Huriya.”

Two other firms controlled by Hanafin, Cyprus-based Huriya Private Cyprus Ltd. and Hong Kong domiciled Gold Miles Ltd., have also been designated pursuant to the same executive order.

A Russian investment banking firm, ACG, its leader Sergey Yevgenyevich Velichko, and its employee Yulia Aleksandrovna Sergeeva are also covered by the sanctions for having “worked with Hanafin to start operations in the UAE and open accounts with UAE banks,” according to the press release.