EU and UK hit Roman Abramovich and other oligarchs with new sanctions

The EU has added names including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich to an asset freeze and travel ban list, in an attempt to increase pressure on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Alfa Group shareholders German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev are among the individuals placed under sanctions, according to draft legal texts seen by the Financial Times.

Tigran Khudaverdyan, executive director of Yandex, one of Russia’s leading tech companies, is also blacklisted for being one of the business people with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The economic measures include a ban on transactions with state-owned Russian companies, except in the oil and gas sector, and certain raw materials such as aluminum, copper and palladium, according to diplomats briefed on the discussions.

An EU import ban on steel products worth € 3.3bn, as well as an EU export ban for luxury goods to Russia, including luxury cars and jewelery, had also been adopted by the bloc, said the European Commission.

European companies will be banned from making new investments in the Russian energy sector, except for civil nuclear energy and the transport of certain energy products to the EU.

European credit rating agencies would also be banned from rating Russian companies and the country’s sovereign debt, the commission said.

“These sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine,” the commission said, adding that the restrictions had been co-ordinated with allies, notably the US.

German finance minister Christian Lindner said the bloc was working on closing any loopholes for oligarchs to circumvent the sanctions regime. “No one who supports Putin is untouchable,” he told reporters in Brussels.

The new sanctions are to be published in the EU’s official journal later on Tuesday.

The move comes as the UK government announced an additional set of sanctions on more than 370 oligarchs and politicians linked to Putin’s regime, including Mikhail Fridman, co-founder of Alfa-Bank, and Mikhail Mishustin, Russia’s prime minister.

Other individuals targeted include Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, and Alexander Ponomarenko, the chair of Sheremetyevo airport who has a fortune estimated to be worth £ 2.22bn.

The legislation gives the government powers to designate individuals and entities under an “urgent procedure”, allowing the UK government to quickly align its sanctions package with other nations.

All individuals named by the UK government have already been placed under sanctions by allies such as the EU, Canada and the US. The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the sanctions were made possible in part due to the economic crime bill, which was fast-tracked through the House of Commons earlier this week.

“We are going further and faster than ever in hitting those closest to Putin – from major oligarchs, to his prime minister and the propagandists who peddle his lies and disinformation,” UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.

Source link