Investigative investigation.. Russia robs Sudan of gold to finance Putin's war on Ukraine

Investigative investigation.. Russia robs Sudan of gold to finance Putin’s war on Ukraine

CNN, in an investigative investigation, revealed evidence that Russia colluded with the Sudanese military leadership to smuggle billions of dollars worth of gold and deprive the poverty-stricken country of its revenues.

Multiple interviews with high-ranking Sudanese and US officials and a trove of documents reviewed by CNN paint a detailed Russian plot to plunder Sudan’s wealth in an effort to insulate Russia against mounting Western sanctions and support Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine.

For thousands of years, Sudan has produced some of the most sought-after gold in the world. And Putin’s private army, the notorious paramilitary group known as “Wagner,” knows this.

The Sudanese government denies that Wagner is in the country, but a CNN crew went on to investigate.

Wagner’s arms stretch across Africa, and our network crew has discovered that some of its notorious clients operate in Sudan. “Wagner” is headed by Yevgeny Prigogine. Mikhail Potepkin heads Prigogine’s business and operations in Sudan, while Alexander Sergeevich Kuznetsov is the main executor of “Wagner”, who was previously convicted of kidnapping and theft, and he works with Sudanese Major General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, nicknamed “Hemedti”, in exchange for training and weapons.

The team traveled 200 miles north from the capital, Khartoum, to the country of gold, to get a closer look at Wagner’s main money maker, the gold miners. Gold miners bring in the rocks they extract for processing. 85% of the gold in Sudan is produced artisanal.

The gold they can is taken from the rocks, the rest is sold, and when properly processed by someone with superior technology, 10 times as much as the miners can earn.

10x without any of the hard work. The only foreign processing plant operating in Sudan is Wagner’s Meroe Gold, although there is a Sudanese law that limits ownership to local residents.

Also worrisome is the imposition of sanctions on Meroe Gold two years ago by the United States for exploiting Sudan’s natural resources and spreading its malign influence around the world.

According to the Sudanese government, they have officially halted their operations but they are still here, still evading sanctions.

Our network staff verified their location with the coordinates provided by Sudanese anti-corruption investigators, and went there to verify. As they approached the site, a red flag of the former Soviet Union was fluttering in the wind. The flag increasingly used by Russian nationalists brazenly points to the Meroi Gold complex, with a Russian tanker next to it.

When a CNN reporter asked one of the workers there, he initially confirmed that this was a Russian company, before the employees claimed that the factory was owned by a Sudanese company called “Made”.

The network crew then moved away and tried to take more shots on public land, before being followed by guards trying to stop them and push them forward. The reason they are so nervous is that the “wand” is a front for the Russian company “Meroi Gold”. Wagner is still operating illegally, a foreign company pretending to be Sudanese to evade US sanctions.

The crew gets their own registration documents to prove it. The Meroi Gould and Scepter documents show a match in the dates of complaints filed in the labor courts against the first company. Under Sudanese law when the company’s property is transferred any judgments against it are also transferred. Therefore, the documents show that the judgments issued against the two companies are identical.

All they did was change the name. Wagner hides in plain sight to avoid sanctions and keep money flowing into Moscow and its war on Ukraine.

One of the sources said: “Meroi Gold” is a front for the Russians, especially for the “Wagner” forces that are working to exploit and export gold from Sudan. It’s the facade, not a company. It extracts gold from tailings and buys gold from artisanal Sudanese miners. This is illegal because the law says that any gold producer is supposed to report the amount they produce to the Central Bank and the Ministry of Mining, which doesn’t happen.

Inside the Central Bank of Sudan, a whistleblower took a computer screen image showing that official production in 2021 was 49.7 tons, 32.7 tons of which are not documented by the Central Bank.

But the real production that the whistleblowers told us could be more than 220 tons, or the equivalent of $13.4 billion, of gold annually stolen from Sudan. How did this happen?

Two years ago, the Sudanese people succeeded in overthrowing Omar al-Bashir, the second longest-ruling dictator in Africa. After 18 months the army staged its own coup and marginalized the civil movement, and it did so, we were told, with the support of Wagner in exchange for gold.

CNN contacted the Russian foreign and defense ministries as well as the parent organization of the Prigozhin-managed group of companies for comment, without a response. CNN also contacted the offices of the Sudanese military rulers, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and General Daglo, and did not receive a response to a request for comment either.

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