Finnish Businessman Blacklisted by US for Having Russian Friends

© AFP 2022 / Lehtikuva /VESA MOILANEN General director of consulting company SET Group Kai Paananenduring
General director of consulting company SET Group Kai Paananenduring - Sputnik International
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Kai Paananen, a Finnish citizen who last week found his name on a US sanctions list of individuals and companies doing business with Russia, said his company was already laying off staff to stay afloat.

“They have cut off all our financing and canceled our credit cards, but we still hope that the ongoing negotiations will help us keep our people working,” said Pananen, the managing director of a Finnish-based petrochemicals group, which has operations also in Russia.

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The US Treasury Department claims Paananen and his companies SET Petrochemicals and Southeast Trading have been linked to the provision of support for Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Paananen admitted he was good friends with Timchenko but was surprised that he was being punished for that.

“My only crime is that I have Russian friends… Gennady [Timchenko] and I first met in 1987 when he worked as an electrician,” Paananen said.

Last week the United States slapped additional sanctions on Russia, which it blames for the conflict in Ukraine.

It alleges that Moscow is arming, bankrolling and sending troops to support independence supporters in eastern Ukraine.

The US added 26 new names to its list of anti-Kremlin sanctions.

The 11 individuals and 15 companies will not be able to conduct business with United States companies or citizens and their assets in the US will be frozen.

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