Ilyumzhinov: Only chess connects me to Syria!

by ChessBase
12/1/2015 – He was intending to go to the US last weekend, but after sanctions were imposed FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov instead took part in a TV interview in Moscow. "I don't sell any ISIL oil to Syria," he states. "We supplied them with a thousand chess sets and three thousand chess books for children." He also opened chess clubs in Aleppo and Damascus, but they were bombed by "the terrorists". Chess-News reports.

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Thursday, 26.11.2015 05:04

The US Department of the Treasury has added Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to its list of sanctioned persons and entities. The FIDE President is now treated by the US government as a specially designated person which means that his US assets, if any, are now blocked and the US citizens are generally forbidden to deal with him.

Among the new entries in the list, one can see also Russian Financial Alliance Bank in which Ilyumzhinov has a 19% share. The bank has been operating at the Russian financial market since 1992 and is rated #643 in the Russian Federation banking system, according to the size of its assets, informs One of the major shareholders of the bank (19.75%), Mudalal Mtanyus Khuri, can be found in the same list of persons and entities sanctioned by the US.

According to this report, the essence of the accusations is that Ilyumzhinov is involved in "materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria, Adib Mayaleh, and Batoul Rida". The latter two persons had been sanctioned by the US earlier.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov himself has already commented on the situation: "I think this is a provocation. On Sunday, just in a few days, I have a scheduled visit to the USA to negotiate and sign the agreement on the World Championship match that will take place in New York in November 2016. It is yet to be sorted out why they added me in that list. I will go to the Treasury to ask them what's wrong and what questions they've got to me", the FIDE President told Russia 24 TV channel, as quoted by "In general, of course this is unexpected, I'm a bit surprised".

Only two days ago, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has celebrated the 20th anniversary of his FIDE presidency, while earlier, in his interview to Chess-News, he had stated that the next World Championship match would certainly take place in the USA in October 2016.

Source: Chess-News

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had promised to be in the US on Sunday, but instead he appeared in one of the TV programs aired on the Russian channel Dozhd. Let us remind you that several days ago the US Department of the Treasury added the reigning FIDE president to the list of sanctioned officials.

"I don't sell any ISIL oil to Syria, Ilyumzhinov assured. Also, I am not having any connections with any of the organisations of banks mentioned in the accusations published by the US. Perhaps they didn't like that I've visited the place several times recently. That's true, we've been supplying Syria. So what? Last time we supplied them with a thousand chess sets and three thousand chess books for children. [...] Last time I was there – it was two years ago – Bashar Al-Assad and I had to open a new chess center, but because of the terror attack threat he couldn't take part in this event. We opened chess clubs in Aleppo and Damascus. By the way, the terrorists have already destroyed by bombing the club we had opened in Aleppo."

Excerpts from the interview

Ksenia Sobchak; Did you really have only chess interests in Syria?

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Nothing at all. Neither companies nor businesses – nothing. My visits were related only to chess.

Wouldn't you agree it could be hard to believe for any government, and especially for the US government, that chess is the only thing connecting you to Syria and Al-Assad?

Not only. I was in the US literally two weeks ago, so if the ministry had any questions they could ask me. We're going to have the World Championship there next year and now we are deciding which city would host it – New York city, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Pavel Lobkov: How are you going to talk to your partners in these circumstances? Via Skype?

Well, I am going to visit the US next week. Besides the aforementioned cities, I've asked my assistant to add Washington D.C. to my schedule, because I would like to be received by the Department of the Treasury.

[Ilyumzhinov also commented on the recent tensions between Russia and Turkey. He mentioned that he has a company in Turkey which is called Kirsan-Ankara.] We created it several years ago in Ankara, in Istanbul. The company provides consultations in communications and real estate. Through this company, I got to know the owners of the Renaissance and other Turkish companies actively operating on the Russian market. Russia's sanctions will of course seriously affect our relations. We are talking about the turnovers in billions of dollars.

Source: Chess-News

See also our previous article:

US Sanctions against FIDE President
11/26/2015 – It comes at a bad time: on the eve of a visit to the USA, to negotiate the venue of the 2016 World Chess Championship (Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York), FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been hit by sanctions of the US Treasury. This is mainly because of dealings with Syria and it President Assad. Currently US citizens are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him.

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