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War Treasure Chest: Putin Raises $2.5 Billion From Africa's 'Blood Gold' Trade to Fund Ukraine Invasion

Vladimir Putin Accused of Laundering Africa's Blood-Soaked Gold
Source: MEGA; UNSPLASH

Vladimir Putin is accused of replenishing his war chest with "blood gold" from Africa.

Dec. 15 2023, Published 11:05 a.m. ET

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A recent report claims Vladimir Putin is amassing substantial wealth through the illicit "blood gold" trade in Africa.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine nearly two years ago, Putin is alleged to have raised around $2 billion from the African continent, and the Wagner Group is likely responsible for the controversial income stream, according to The Blood Gold Report.

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The Blood Gold Report, a platform that exposes connections between Western mineral companies, military regimes and Russian mercenaries in Africa, claims the Wagner Group is exploiting African nations and their resources.

The acquired funds are purportedly utilized to fuel conflicts globally, bolstering Putin's war chest for operations in Ukraine. The primary source of this money has been identified as gold mines located in the Central African Republic, Sudan and Mali, according to The Blood Gold Report.

In the Central African Republic, a front company associated with Wagner has reportedly secured exclusive rights to the Ndassima mine, the country's largest gold mine, in exchange for supporting an authoritarian regime.

In Sudan, a Russian company under Wagner's control oversees a significant refinery, allowing the group to dominate the purchase of unprocessed Sudanese gold. Russian military transport planes are allegedly used to ship processed gold out of the country.

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In Mali, the Wagner Group, formerly led by the late Yevgeny Prigohzhin, reportedly receives $10.8 million monthly in cash from a “military junta that relies on a small number of international mining companies for the majority of its tax revenue,” according to The Blood Gold Report.

Western entities are allegedly implicated in paying millions of dollars to the military junta, accused of human rights violations, including a massacre with Wagner's involvement that resulted in 500 deaths.

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Once the gold is extracted and processed, it is smuggled to Russia and the United Arab Emirates. There, it is mixed with minerals from legitimate sources and liquidated.

Jessica Berlin, lead author of The Blood Gold Report, notes that Wagner's operations in Africa not only spread violence across the continent but also generate billions in revenue for the Kremlin, financing both the war on Ukraine and hybrid warfare against democracies globally, the Daily Star reported.

The report advocates for expanded sanctions on entities employing Wagner, designation of Wagner as a terrorist group and increased support for African democratic states, among other recommendations.

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