Friday, December 11, 2015

Pestaño: US imposes sanctions on Fide president

FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been checkmated. Following the furor of the Paris bombings, the reactions has spread across the globe with France, United Kingdom, Canada ,Germany and Russia joining the airstrikes against the Islamic State and .
It has spread to the world of chess as well. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was put on a US sanctions list on Nov. 25 for providing support to the Syrian government. This means that any assets he has in the US are to be frozen and US citizens are prohibited from having any dealings with him.
Following a unanimous decision by the Fide presidential board, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has stepped down temporarily as Fide president. For the moment, Fide deputy president Georgios Makropoulos is the acting president. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is no longer representing the World Chess Federation. This decision was taken during a three-hour presidential board meeting in the Royal Olympic Hotel in Athens last week.
“Following the announcement by the US Department of the Treasury that the US levied sanctions against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a Russian citizen and Fide President, Mr. Ilyumzhinov has informed the presidential board that he will withdraw from any legal, financial and business operations of Fide until such time as Mr. Ilyumzhinov is removed from the Office of Foreign Assets Control sanction list,” Nigel Freeman, Executive Director of FIDE, wrote on the Fide website.
“Mr. Ilyumzhinov advised that he has initiated legal procedures in the US aiming to request additional information and reverse restrictive measures put by the US Department of the Treasury,” Freeman said in his statement. “During the next Presidential Board meeting, Mr. Ilyumzhinov will update the Board as to the progress of the legal procedures.”
“The aim is to protect the good name of the organization,” said Zurab Azmaiparashvili, the Continental President for Europe, to “He has the moral right to individually fight for his rights, when he is accused. It’s better for him to do that and not be the Fide President at the same time.”
The decision did not come as a surprise to the Fide Board members, said Azmaiparashvili, who attended the meeting in Athens . “We expected it. It’s a hard decision but it’s the right decision.”
Restrictive measures against Ilyumzhinov were introduced because he was “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria, Adib Mayaleh, and Batoul Rida”, the US Department of Treasury said in a statement. He has been linked to financial transactions involving companies associated with another sanctioned person – Syrian businessman, Mudalal Khuri – since 1997, the statement said.
The announcement implies that the Syrian government is actually trading with its biggest enemy on the ground, buying oil from its own refineries, which fell into Islamic State’s hands.
$50 billion. Ilyumzhinov denies the charge and claimed his only contact with Syria was in his role as head of FIDE. Ilyumzhinov also said yesterday he would seek $50 billion in damages from the United States over his addition to a blacklist for alleged ties to the Syrian regime.
“I consider that these accusations are either a mistake or a provocation,” Ilyumzhinov told Russia’s Sport-Express newspaper.
This isn’t the first time 53-year-old Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has found himself at the focal point of world events. In 2003 he visited Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the Iraq War, while in 2011 he was one of the foreign guests of visit Colonel Gaddafi. Libya later faced bombardment by American and other allied forces.

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