US imposes sanctions on illegally operating gold mining company in Azerbaijan's Kalbajar

GeoProMining company, which illegally mined gold in the Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan during the Armenian occupation, has fallen under the US anti-Russian sanctions, the statement of the US Treasury Department says, reports.

During the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, the Armenian side ruthlessly developed mineral deposits in Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur. The largest gold mining zone in this region, located in Kalbajar, has been exploited since 2007 by the Russian company GPM Gold, part of the GeoProMining mining company.

Although the company's license allowed mining only in the Armenian territory of the mine, there is evidence of operations also in occupied Kalbajar, confirmed by satellite imagery. During the II Karabakh War, the company, to preserve its revenues, concentrated a significant amount of weapons and mercenaries in the mine to counter the Azerbaijani army.

Meanwhile, Vartan Sirmakes, a Swiss entrepreneur and jeweler of Armenian origin who is the co-founder and CEO of the famous Swiss watch brand Franck Muller Group, was involved in the looting of the mine.
Gold mined in Kalbajar and Zangilan was offered at Swiss auctions and stored in Swiss banks.

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