x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Burj Khalifa resident hit with US sanctions for alleged ties to international crime ring

The 33-year-old woman is said to be connected to the Brothers' Circle, a network of criminal groups in Eurasian countries, according to a statement from the US Treasury Department.

ABU DHABI // The US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on a resident of Burj Khalifa because of her alleged ties to organised crime.

The 33-year-old Russian woman is said to be connected to the Brothers' Circle, a network of criminal groups in Eurasian countries, according to a statement released by the Treasury on Wednesday.

Known alternately as M?S?G or M?K, the woman maintains an address in Dubai, the Treasury said.

"Today's action freezes any assets these persons may have within the jurisdiction of the US and generally prohibits any transactions with them by US persons," the statement said.

Zakhariy Kalashov, a prominent Georgian member of the Brothers' Circle, was arrested in Dubai in 2006.

He was extradited to Spain, where he is serving a nine-year prison term for money laundering.

The Burj Khalifa resident is "a key part of Zakhariy Kalashov's network", the Treasury said.

"Kalashov communicates [with MSG] to pass messages on his behalf to his organisation," the Treasury said.

In addition to money-laundering, Kalashov's criminal activities also include extortion, criminal protection and arms and drug trafficking, according to a previous statement from the Treasury.

Altogether, the Treasury statement named eight people with ties to three "transnational criminal organisations" – the Brothers' Circle, the Italian Camorra and the Inagawa-kai clan of the Japanese Yakuza.

David Cohen, Treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the individuals named were "key members of criminal organisations who engage in serious crimes around the world".

vnereim@thenational.ae