Absolute Championship Akhmat—an organization owned and funded by Chechnya’s despotic leader, Ramzan Kadyrov—plans to sue Google for suspending the MMA promotion’s official YouTube channel.
The channel was suspended shortly after the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued its latest round of sanctions against the Chechen dictator for “serious violations of human rights” in December 2020.
“We will sue over the sanctions in our direction, regarding being blocked by Google and YouTube,” ACA President Alexei Yatsenko told Championat.com. “At first, we appealed to the prosecutor’s office, but this did not have any effect. So, we will definitely sue.”
Following up on Kadyrov’s previous designation on December 20, 2017, where the OFAC sanctioned the Head of the Chechen Republic for “being responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals,” the OFAC doubled down three years later by designating Kadyrov pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Executive Order for leading an entity accused of “illegal abductions, torture, extrajudicial executions, and other abuses, including the detention of journalists and activists.”
In addition to Kadyrov, the OFAC also sanctioned six companies that provide the Chechen tyrant “pride and profit,” including Kadyrov’s infamous Akhmat fight club and ACA– a decision that held significant ramifications across the sport.
According to the OFAC, the sanctions’ implications extend to “all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.
“The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.”