MOSCOW: World Chess Federation (FIDE) president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said Tuesday he would seek $50 billion 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.
“Given that I have already suffered morally, my lawyers will sue for $50 billion.”
The US Treasury Department accused Ilyumzhinov of “materially assisting and acting for or on the behalf of” the Syrian government and the central bank, as well as Central Bank governor Adib Mayaleh.
Ilyumzhinov, a 53-year-old Russian citizen, has dismissed the charge, repeatedly telling local media he has no economic interests in Syria or Iraq.
FIDE said on Sunday that Ilyumzhinov had transferred most of his powers to his deputy, Georgios Makropoulos, and that he would withdraw from “any legal, financial and business operations of FIDE” until sanctions against him are lifted.
The sanctions forbid US individuals or entities from doing any business with those on the blacklist, restricting their access to international financial networks crucial to doing business.
The Treasury Department in November sanctioned Ilyumzhinov and three other people and six entities for their support of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, “including a middleman for oil purchases by the Syrian regime from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” another name for the Islamic State group.
Russian Financial Alliance Bank, of which Ilyumzhinov is a major shareholder, was also targeted by the sanctions.