Prigozhin, Wagner and the UAE

On 28 June 2023, Arab Digest and Mr William Law published a podcast titled “Prigozhin, Wagner and the UAE” and on 30 June 2023 published an edited transcript of that podcast with the same title. Those publications made the following false statements about Kush for Exploration & Production Co. Ltd (“Kush”) and Emiral Resources Ltd (“Emiral”):

(A) the “Kush Mine in Sudan” is part of the “self-funded network of companies… set up purposely” by the Wagner Group to allow it to self-fund and thereby “provid[e] vital access to resources for the Russian state” and operate as a “non-state actor”;

(B) the “Kush Mine” was “initially secured by Wagner and Wagner forces” in 2019;

(C) gold from the “Kush Mine” is extracted by Wagner’s extraction company;

(D) Wagner “melt[s]… down” and “sell[s]” gold from the “Kush Mine” “on the open market without any trace,” and deposits money from the sale of gold from the “Kush Mine” in “banks and shell companies in the UAE… being set up purposely to support

(E) Wagner uses money generated from the sale of gold from the “Kush Mine” to “buy materials… buy arms, and… set up… logistical companies within the UAE”;

(F) Wagner has “deposited” money from the Kush Mine in “Emirati Banks”;

(G) Emiral was “set up” by “Tahnoon bin Zayed… together with a Russian former KGB officer,” in circumstances that “soun[d] a little bit like a James Bond villain movie”;

(H) Emiral now “own[s]” or is “taking over the shares of Kush from Wagner and from Gazprom…”;

(I) Emiral’s board is comprised of “a bunch of Emiratis who themselves have links to Tahnoon bin Zayed and the international holding company, which is Tahnoon’s network of international holding companies”;

(J) Emiral and Kush both have a “direct link to Wagner,” because “Emiral holds a majority stake of Kush Mine, where the gold is coming from, and a minority stake of Kush Mine is held by two companies that are owned by Prigozhin;”

(K) Emiral and Kush are parts of a “network of different companies, shell companies and intermediaries” that themselves are part of the “carousel and the assemblage” created by Wagner;

(L) Emiral benefits from assistance from the “Emirati regime” in “sanctions evasion and aiding the establishment of shell companies to help Wagner”; and

(M) Wagner’s status as a “self-funded network and entity” will persist “as long as gold is being traded, as long as they have access to the Kush Mine, for example.”

By publishing those statements it was wrongly suggested by Arab Digest and Mr Law that Kush and Emiral are stooge companies established for the sole purpose of facilitating the laundering of funds and precious metals from Africa, through the United Arab Emirates, to support both Wagner and President Putin and that, in doing so, Kush and Emiral have violated international laws and sanctions.

Arab Digest and Mr Law acknowledge that there was no basis for making such allegations and that they should never have been published. The podcast and transcript have now been permanently removed and Arab Digest and Mr Law would like to apologise to Kush for Exploration & Production Co. Ltd and Emiral Resources Ltd for the harm caused by the publications.

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