On July 24, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned three Malian government and military officials – the Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force – for their roles in the deployment and expansion of the Wagner Group in Mali. OFAC reports that the sanctions were imposed based on evidence showing that they had contributed to malicious activities by the Wagner Group in Mali. The officials were allegedly engaged in efforts to solidify the agreement between Wagner Group and the Malian transition government or efforts to advocate for the Wagner Group’s deployment to Burkina Faso. The three were designated pursuant to Executive Order 14024 for providing material assistance or financial, material, or technological support to the Wagner Group, an entity previously designated by OFAC.
OFAC originally designated the Wagner Group in 2017 under EO 13660 for engaging in actions that threaten the peace, stability, and sovereignty of Ukraine. In 2022, the group was redesignated by the US Department of State pursuant to EO 14024 for operating in the defense or related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy. In January 2023, the Wagner Group was redesignated by OFAC pursuant 13581, as amended by EO 13863, as a significant transnational criminal organization and pursuant to EO 13667 for engaging in the targeting of women, children or civilians with violence, abduction or forced displacement, or attacks which forced civilians to seek refuge or through conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights or international humanitarian law in relation to the CAR.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of these designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons. In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.