Washington, DC-- The U.S. Department of Treasury announced today that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has identified seven companies and three individuals, listed below, as subject to sanctions pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13413, which targets, among others, individuals and entities determined to have supplied arms contributing to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or having provided support to armed militias or the leaders of foreign armed groups operating in the DRC.
"These individuals and firms trafficked in plundered gold and arms at the cost of human lives," said Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. "We are taking action in concert with the U.N. Security Council to disrupt their activities and to stem the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo."
Three of the designated firms have been found to be owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, Viktor Bout, an international arms dealer and war profiteer who was named in the Annex to EO 13413 on October 27, 2006. This designation continues OFAC's efforts to disrupt the involvement of the Bout network, one of the largest illicit arms-trafficking networks in the world, in conflicts in the DRC and elsewhere. Two of the companies designated today , Compagnie Aerienne des Grands Lacs and Great Lakes Business Company, have been identified by the UN and other observers as being suppliers of weapons and ammunition to warring factions in the DRC. Another firm, Cargo Freight International, is included in this designation for its role as a holding company for some of Bout's assets in the region.
The other four firms, along with two of the three designated individuals, are designated for their respective roles in supporting armed groups in the DRC's eastern provinces during the war. Butembo Airlines and Congocom Trading House are owned or controlled by Kambale Kisoni , a Congolese gold trader whose provision of various types of support to these armed groups, in violation of the international arms embargo imposed on warring parties in the DRC conflict, has been documented and reported by the UN and other outside observers. Another Congolese gold dealer, Dieudonne Ozia Mazio, is being designated for his role in similar activity. Uganda's two largest gold exporting firms, Uganda Commercial Impex and Machanga Ltd., are being designated for purchasing gold from designated Congolese gold dealers such as Kisoni and Ozia Mazio , as well as for providing direct financial support to the militias.
Straton Musoni , the final individual designated, is the First Vice-President of the Forces Democratiques pour la Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR), which is largely made up of Hutu extremists who participated in the 1993 Rwandan genocide. Musoni is being named because of his role as a leader of the FDLR, which has impeded the disarmament, repatriation, or resettlement of combatants in the DRC.
Today's action freezes any assets of the designated persons that are within U.S. jurisdiction and also prohibits any transactions between U.S. persons and the designated persons and entities.
These ten new names bring the total number of individuals and entities designated under EO 13413 to 17.
This action is taken in coordination with yesterday's (March 29, 2007) designation by the UN of eight of the above-named individuals and entities pursuant to various UN Security Council Resolutions. The UN is not listing Cargo Freight International at this time, while Ozio Mazio has been previously listed by the UN.