Petition to lift sanctions on Russian singer gets 100,000 signatures
WASHINGTON, November 25 (RAPSI) – A petition to the Obama Administration to lift economic sanctions on Russian singer Grigory Leps has received the required 100,000 signatures to be reviewed by the White House staff.
To date, 100,030 people have voted for the petition on the We the People website of the White House. “We the People” are the opening words of the US Constitution.
According to the rules of the site, the White House will respond to petitions that get enough signatures, but in doing so, it will not interfere with the activities of law-enforcement agencies or adjudicatory matters.
The required 100,000 signatures must be collected within 30 days. The petition on behalf of Grigory Leps collected enough signatures a week before the deadline, which is December 2.
The authors of the petition demand that the US Department of the Treasury provide evidence of Grigory Leps' involvement in the criminal group or lift sanctions and tender an apology. “To avoid the misunderstanding we ask you to form a commission composed of representatives of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Russian Embassy in the U.S., public figures and the Commissioner for Human Rights,” reads the petition.
Earlier, the US Treasury released a statement on its website saying that it had blacklisted six individuals and four companies for alleged connection with the Brothers’ Circle crime syndicate whose two key members are Vladislav Leontyev and Gafur Rakhimov. Among those on the list is Grigory Victorovich Lepsveridze, known in Russia as popular singer Grigory Leps, who is thought to have couriered money on behalf of Leontyev.
When contacted by RAPSI earlier this month for a comment on the Leps case, a US Treasury spokesperson said, “I cannot comment on this specific case, but the US government has an ongoing dialogue with the Russian movement about a range of issues, including this Executive Order.”
According to information provided by the US Treasury Department, The Brothers’ Circle is one of five transnational criminal organizations sanctioned by the US, along with the Camorra, the Yakuza, Los Zetas, and MS-13.
The Brothers’ Circle comprises leaders and senior members of several Eurasian criminal groups that are “largely based in the countries of the former Soviet Union, but which also operate in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America,” the Department of the Treasury said.