The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has unanimously passed a draft law initiating corruption checks on the Kremlin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and authorizing, in case any violations found, sanctions on individuals and legal entities involved, says Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko.
According to Vitrenko, American lawmakers made this decision on Tuesday, and the document will be soon considered by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“These legislative initiatives of the United States are important for Ukraine for several reasons. First, they demonstrate that the Congress standpoint with regard to Nord Stream 2 has not changed: Russia’s pipeline is still viewed as a threat. Second, this amendment against Nord Stream 2 has been promoted by both Democratic and Republican senators. I would like to personally thank senators Benjamin Cardin, Robert Menendez, James Risch, Jeanne Shaheen, Ted Cruz, and John Barrasso. Finally, this legislation may become an effective tool to combat dirty money involved in this Russian geopolitical project,” Vitrenko commented.
As planned under the draft law, the US Secretary of State, in consultation and coordination with the US Secretary of the Treasury, will continuously check Nord Stream 2 and report on any corruption schemes found, as well as on foreign nationals involved in those corrupt practices, which will potentially lead to new sanctions.
If violations are found, sanctions may be applied to those companies that deal with planning, construction, or operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Sanctions will be imposed under the Magnitsky Act for the protection of human rights.
“In this context, it is worth recalling the scandalous report by independent analysts of Sberbank CIB in 2018, who concluded that the prime beneficiaries in the construction of three Russian export pipelines to China (Power of Siberia) and Europe (Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream) are not its shareholders, but rather contractors, including Stroygazmontazh owned by Arkady Rotenberg and Stroytransneftegaz (nearly 50% owned by Gennady Timchenko and his family). Notably, those analysts were fired after the report was published,” added Vitrenko.
He underlined that this new sanctions provision may be used as an additional tool in the fight against the Russian pipeline. “Our Naftogaz team and Ukrainian diplomats continue to actively work for the protection of Ukraine’s energy security,” the Naftogaz CEO summarized.
Integrated Communications Department
Naftogaz of Ukraine