Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on October 4, 2017. Canada is taking aim at corruption and rights abuses in Russia, Venezuela and South Sudan by imposing targeted sanctions on 52 individuals, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on October 4, 2017. Canada is taking aim at corruption and rights abuses in Russia, Venezuela and South Sudan by imposing targeted sanctions on 52 individuals, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Photo Credit: PC / Yuri Kadobnov

Canada sanctions Russian, South Sudanese and Venezuelan officials under new Magnitsky Act

Less than three weeks after Canada became the fourth country in the world to adopt its version of the Magnitsky Act, Ottawa unveiled a new sanction list targeting 52 individuals in Russia, South Sudan and Venezuela suspected of corruption and gross human rights violations.

The Sergey Magnitsky Law, also known as Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, was named after a Russian tax accountant and whistleblower, who was jailed and later died in prison after he exposed a giant tax fraud scheme allegedly involving government officials.

Canada is imposing sanctions against 30 individuals in Russia linked to the $230-million US tax fraud uncovered by Magnitsky in 2008 and to “the subsequent gross violations of his legal and human rights during his investigation and pretrial detention, including psychological and physical abuse that ultimately led to his death in a Russian detention centre in November 2009,” the government said.

The targeted individuals include Russian law enforcement, tax and prison officials, including Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, the Russian equivalent of FBI, as well as bank executives and people who testified against Magnitsky.

Sending ‘a clear message’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday Nov. 2, 2017.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. © PC/Sean Kilpatrick

The sanctions are also targeting 19 Venezuelan officials, including President Nicolás Maduro and family members of the late President Hugo Chavez, as well as three South Sudanese individuals. They are former chief of staff of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army Paul Malong Awan, deputy defence chief Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Michael Makuei Lueth “who have personally profited from acts of significant corruption,” the government said.

Under the provisions of the Sergey Magnitsky Law, Canadians are prohibited from engaging in property deals with targeted individuals, entering into or facilitating any financial transactions, and providing or receiving any financial services anywhere in the world. The federal government can also seize their assets in Canada.

“Today’s announcement sends a clear message that Canada will take action against individuals who have profited from acts of significant corruption or who have been involved in gross violations of human rights,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

“Canada’s Parliament recently passed the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, and I am pleased we are today using this new and fit-for-purpose tool for the first time.”

Russian reaction

In a statement released on Friday, Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Russia is forced to retaliate against Canadian sanctions.

Based on the principle of reciprocity, a decision has been made to bar entry into Russia to a number of Canadians,” Zakharova said in a statement in Russian. “It’s a long list with dozens of names in it. We’re talking about Russophobic citizens of Canada, who deliberately worked on destroying our bilateral relations.”

Spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova gestures as she attends a news briefing in Moscow, Russia, October 6, 2015.
Spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova gestures as she attends a news briefing in Moscow, Russia, October 6, 2015. © Maxim Shemetov

Zakharova said Russian officials can’t understand what motivated Ottawa’s actions.

“Do they really think they can ‘pressure’ Russia? Or are they entertaining their political ambitions?” Zakharova said. “If our Canadian partners like to play sanctions games, we’ll be forced to respond.”

The Russian embassy in Canada said Ottawa’s decision to “extend its anti-Russian sanctions under the false pretext of hypocritically championing human rights is absolutely pointless and reprehensible.”

Nevertheless, Zakharova said Russian authorities hope “that the political circles in Canada will have an epiphany and will abandon the pernicious course leading to further aggravation of bilateral relations.”

‘Hostile act’

Paul Robinson, professor of public and international affairs at University of Ottawa, said while most of the media attention has been on the list targeting Russian officials, he was most struck by the fact that President Maduro was named in the Venezuelan list.

“It’s frankly quite a hostile act, you don’t sanction presidents of foreign countries just like that,” Robinson said in a phone interview with Radio Canada International. “There are many corrupt people in the world and many governments that don’t have good records on corruption and human rights, so why has the Canadian government specifically picked on Venezuela? It’s very odd.”

It also puts to rest any suggestions that Canada could play the role of an honest broker in trying to defuse the political crisis in Venezuela, he said.

The move indicates the extent to which the legislation that has been presented by the government as being about fighting corruption and protecting human rights is in fact highly political in nature, Robinson said.

“The Magnitsky Act is superficially about human rights and corruption,” Robinson said. “But of course in reality it’s going to be applied highly selectively against people who for some reason are in the political crosshairs of the government.”

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in International, Politics

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply to Dave Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

4 comments on “Canada sanctions Russian, South Sudanese and Venezuelan officials under new Magnitsky Act
  1. Derek says:

    This Social Justice Warrior- government needs to go. Their reckless, self righteous grandstanding is damaging Canada.

  2. Peter Ashcroft says:

    The need to schedule all those rulers whose personal power overrules human rights. Their victims are treated as second-class citizens.

  3. Karlos says:

    When globalist say jump, Trudeau ask how high.