Russia plunders Sudan’s most precious source

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – “Russia is plundering gold in Sudan…” is the title of an investigative report by CNN about how Russia has plundered Sudan’s most precious source – gold – to boost its war against Ukraine.   

The report is substantiated, as several interviews with high-ranking Sudanese and US officials were made, and many documents were collected to draw the framework of Russian scheme to plunder Sudan’s gold in a bid to fortify Russia against Western sanctions and to boost Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine.

“We have long known Russia is exploiting Sudan’s natural resources,” one former US official familiar with the matter told CNN.

The process of gold plundering between Russia and Sudan has been achieved by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and key ally of President Vladimir Putin, who controls a shadowy network of companies that includes Wagner, a paramilitary group linked to alleged torture, mass killings and looting in several war-torn countries including Syria and the Central African Republic (CAR).

CNN, in collaboration with the London-based Dossier Center which tracks the criminal activity of various people associated with the Kremlin, could also reveal that at least one high-level Wagner operative, Alexander Sergeyevich Kuznetsov, has overseen operations in Sudan’s key gold mining, processing and transit sites in recent years.  

According to Sudanese official sources, CNN says, at least 16 of the flights intercepted by Sudanese officials last year were operated by military plane that came to and from the Syrian port city of Latakia where Russia has a major airbase.

Russia’s meddling in Sudan’s gold began in earnest in 2014 after its invasion of Crimea prompted a slew of Western sanctions. Gold shipments proved an effective way of accumulating and transferring wealth, bolstering Russia’s state coffers while sidestepping international financial monitoring systems, CNN added.   

It pointed out that it is difficult to ascertain the exact amount of gold Russia has removed from Sudan. But at least seven sources familiar with events accuse Russia of driving the lion’s share of Sudan’s gold smuggling operations.  

Most of CNN’s insider sources claim that around 90% of Sudan’s gold production is being smuggled out. “If true,” CNN said, “that would amount to roughly $13.4 billion worth of gold that has circumvented customs and regulations, with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars lost in government revenue.”

Reporting by Jwan Shkaki