MOSCOW, December 23 (RAPSI) – Russian singer Grigory Lepsveridze (better known as Grigory Leps) has the right to seek reconsideration of the sanctions imposed against him by the US, according to a statement released by the White House on Monday.
The US authorities released the statement after a petition to lift the economic sanctions against Leps surpassed the required 100,000 signatures on the White House Website.
After asserting that a “rigorous process” with “multiple levels of review” was carried out prior to Leps’ designation on the list, the official statement noted that: “At any time, Mr. Lepsveridze may seek reconsideration of his designation by filing a petition with OFAC for an administrative review pursuant to 31 C.F.R. § 501.807. OFAC will consider any arguments and evidence submitted in the administrative petition in determining whether to maintain or withdraw the designation of Mr. Lepsveridze.”
In November, the US Treasury released a statement on its website saying that it had blacklisted six individuals and four companies for alleged connection with the Brothers’ Circle crime syndicate whose two key members are Vladislav Leontyev and Gafur Rakhimov.
The White House statement explains that Leps was designated on October 30, and his name was added to a list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, “because he acts for or on behalf of Vladislav Leontyev by transporting money on his behalf.”
Leontyev is described in the statement as a vory v zakone (thief in law) who was designated in February 2012 for acting for or on behalf of the Brothers’ Circle as one of its “key members.” The statement goes on to assert: “Mr. Leontyev has been involved in various criminal activities, including narcotics trafficking, and was also involved in a shooting in 2003 between regional factions within Russian organized criminal networks over an attempt to seize control of a precious metals business. At the time of OFAC's action, Mr. Leontyev was wanted by Russian authorities for illegal transactions involving precious metals and narcotics.”
According to information provided by the US Treasury Department, The Brothers’ Circle is one of five transnational criminal organizations sanctioned by the US, along with the Camorra, the Yakuza, Los Zetas, and MS-13.
The Brothers’ Circle comprises leaders and senior members of several Eurasian criminal groups that are “largely based in the countries of the former Soviet Union, but which also operate in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America,” the Department of the Treasury said.