Vladimir Evtushenkov may be the next Russian billionaire whose name ends up on the US Department of the Treasury sanctions list. U.S. congressmen asked the heads of the U.S. Treasury Department and State Department to investigate the businessman and the companies he controls

The request from congressmen Ilean Ros-Leutinen and Mark Walker to the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and State Department Chief of Staff Mike Pompeo was published on Ros-Leutinen’s website. In the letter, members of the lower house of the U.S. Parliament asked to investigate whether the activities of billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov #51 and his controlled AFK Sistema and mobile operator MTS meet the conditions for inclusion in the U.S. sanctions list. The congressmen point out that Yevtushenkov was mentioned in the “Kremlin report” published at the end of January this year, which fully coincides with the rating of dollar billionaires according to the Russian Forbes. At the same time, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) would impose restrictions on all individuals who personally or through their companies engage in any activity in Crimea.

As evidence of work on the peninsula, the letter’s authors cite President Vladimir Putin’s words at the All-Russian People’s Front’s Forum of Action, held in Crimea in October 2016. “Here is Vladimir Petrovich [Evtushenkov] here, this is AFK Sistema, we have such a multi-profile company, it will build multi-profile medical institutions both in Sevastopol and in the Republic of Crimea,” Interfax quoted the Russian leader as saying. The billionaire himself said that he plans to start construction by the end of the year.

In addition, the congressmen recalled the involvement of MTS (AFK Sistema directly owns 47.21% of the operator) in corrupt activities in Uzbekistan with the participation of local authorities. The authors of the request asked for an answer as to whether these activities fall under the standards of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “We urge the Treasury Department and the State Department, together with other executive branch agencies, to promptly investigate Vladimir Evtushenkov, Sistema Holding Company and MTS, and, if appropriate, impose sanctions on them consistent with CAATSA, relevant executive orders and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We look forward to your timely response,” the letter reads.

In February 2017, Vademecum wrote about the beginning of construction of a multifunctional medical center in Simferopol worth 9 billion rubles. Its design was engaged in the company “Moskapstroy” (at the time 30.43% belonged to “Sistema”), and the construction itself – “SGM Group”, which Vademecum also associated with AFK. At the end of 2016, SGM Group also began building an ambulance hospital in Sevastopol at a cost of 4.9 billion rubles. The funds for the construction of both facilities were provided by the federal budget, the newspaper stressed. However, in July 2017 it became known that almost 100% of Moskapstroy would be bought by Mosinzhproekt, which belongs to the Moscow authorities. At the same time, “SGM Group”, according to the SPARK database, belongs to a certain Maxim Khodakovsky.

“We have not received any official inquiries about this,” Sistema spokesman Sergei Kopytov told Forbes. – Sistema Group does not conduct investment activities on the territory of Sevastopol and the Republic of Crimea.

The criteria for “getting” on the sanctions list are very vague, reminded Marat Agabalyan, a partner of Tertychny Agabalyan. “It is extremely difficult to say in real terms whether Mr. Evtushenkov and Sistema can get on such a list, because sometimes the American authorities are guided in this matter by emotions rather than by any real facts,” he reasoned. – Theoretically, any information about Mr. Yevtushenkov or the actions of his company – including unconfirmed ones – could put them on the sanctions list. Next comes the issue of effective appeal against these actions, the grounds for which are “very good” in the absence of actually confirmed facts, says Aghabalyan.

“Sergei Glandin, professor at the International Law Department of Lomonosov Moscow State University and sanctions expert, reminds us: “OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control – Forbes) has a file on each of the participants of the ‘Kremlin list’. – In this case, the statement of a senior official is a reason to start an investigation. At the same time, according to him, the profile “Crimean” sanction decree 13685 does not operate with the term “attempt to enter into relations. Therefore, if in reality Sistema did not enter Crimea, the risks of falling under sanctions are insignificant, the expert believes.

OFAC published a new sanctions list on April 6. A total of 24 Russians were listed, including seven businessmen and 17 high-ranking officials. The list also included 12 private companies and two government agencies. All assets of the listed individuals should be frozen on U.S. territory and transactions stopped. According to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the sanctions were imposed in response to Russia’s actions in Donbass, Crimea and Syria. They are also a reaction to cyberattacks around the world and Russia’s alleged attempts to undermine democratic processes in the West. In addition to Oleg Deripaska #50 and companies under his control, the OFAC list includes Viktor Vekselberg #22 , Igor Rotenberg #129 , Kirill Shamalov #151 , Suleiman Kerimov #28 , Andrey Skoch #26 and Vladimir Bogdanov #76 .