June 12, 2024

OFAC targets individuals and entities in Guyana with Global Magnitsky sanctions

On June 11, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated three individuals and three entities to target public corruption in Guyana.  The designated persons include Mae Thomas, a Guyanese government official, Nazar Mohamed and his son Azruddin — members of one of Guyana’s wealthiest families — as well as Mohamed’s Enterprise and two other companies owned or controlled by members of the Mohamed family.

According to OFAC, Mohamed’s Enterprise, which also does business as “Confidential Cambio,” is one of Guyana’s largest gold exporters.  Since Azruddin took over Mohamed’s Enterprise, the company has allegedly evaded Guyana’s tax on gold exports by under-declaring exports to Guyanese authorities.  Between 2019 and 2023, Mohamed’s Enterprise reportedly failed to declare more than 10 thousand kilograms of gold in imports and exports, thus avoiding the payment of more than $50 million in duty taxes to the Guyanese government.   The illegal operation is reportedly facilitated through bribery schemes involving government officials in Guyana, including Mae Thomas, currently serving as Permanent Secretary of Guyana’s Ministry of Labor, and formerly the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The designations were imposed pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Right Accountability Act, targeting those who engage in serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.  As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of the designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.  In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more designated persons are also blocked, unless they are exempt or authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC.

U.S. Department of Treasury Press Release