PMC Wagner purchased tens of thousands of combat helmets from China in 2022, while its head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, recruited mercenaries from Russian prisons, reports the Financial Times.
The publication was able to find that the structures through which Wagner PMCs purchased foreign equipment and equipment for their military operations in Africa continued to function freely after Russia's attack on Ukraine. This happens despite the fact that this organization is recognized as a criminal organization in the United States.
So, in November and December 2022, Broker Expert, associated with the Wagner PMC, purchased 20,000 polymer combat helmets from the Chinese company Hangzhou Shinerain Import And Export Co. The delivery was divided into four parts. In general, its volume is more than $2 million.
According to the statement of representatives of the Chinese company, they were intended for "use in games." It is indicated that from 5 to 15 people can work in it. It does not list military equipment on China's online bulk buying platform Alibaba.
The Financial Times also found that Broker Expert in August 2022 supplied power generators, welding electrodes and refractory materials to a Prigozhin-controlled logging company in the Central African Republic (CAR). Broker Expert has not yet been included in the sanctions lists of any of the Western countries.
Earlier it was reported that the logging company Bois Rouge, controlled by PMC Wagner, changed its name to Wood International Group (WIG) and transports wood from Africa to the EU countries through Cameroon.
The founder of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is under US sanctions. In 2021, he was put on the FBI's Most Wanted list, but he continues to earn hundreds of millions of dollars from mining. Thus, the company associated with it, Euro Polis, received from the government of Bashar al-Assad a concession in the energy sector of Syria in exchange for the services of PMC Wagner: mercenaries liberated several oil fields seized by the Islamic State. Euro Polis has been under sanctions since 2018, which did not prevent the company from receiving $90 million in net profit in 2020. Also, business structures associated with Prigozhin continue to operate in Sudan and the Central African Republic.
The US Treasury has declared the Wagner PMC a transnational criminal organization involved in criminal activities, including mass executions, rape, child abduction and physical abuse.