Abramovich Sanctions Based on Fame Not Proof, States His Attorney

(Bloomberg) — The European Union’s sanctioning of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for his alleged links to President Putin was a political transfer by the bloc’s leaders to clamp down on a renowned Russian, his law firm advised an EU courtroom. 

At a hearing in the EU’s Common Courtroom on Wednesday, Abramovich’s lawful crew strike out at statements that his privileged connection with Russian President Vladimir Putin permitted him to line his pockets while his enterprise offers a “substantial resource of revenue” to the Russian war exertion in Ukraine.

Abramovich was put on the EU sanctions list by the EU in aspect thanks to his fame, somewhat than “based on proof,” lawyer Thierry Bontinck mentioned. 

Abramovich observed his vacation restricted and his EU assets frozen after he was placed on the bloc’s sanctions record in March for his alleged near backlinks to Putin and by extension, the country’s war endeavours in Ukraine.

“A myth has developed up close to the character of Roman Abramovich,” Bontinck stated of the superior-profile former owner of Chelsea Football Club. He never ever had a “chance of steering clear of becoming set underneath restrictive measures,” his attorney said.  

Abramovich, 56, is a single of the richest men and women in Russia who turned broadly acknowledged after the sale of Sibneft oil company to condition-operate Gazprom for $13 billion in 2005. The billionaire was forced to promote Chelsea for £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) immediately after remaining sanctioned by the Uk in March, ending approximately two decades as owner of the West London club. The EU adopted with sanctions days later.

As a shareholder of the steel team Evraz, a person of Russia’s largest taxpayers, Abramovich is a top Russian businessmen.  Evraz, nevertheless, has previously stated that its East Metals AG device “neither functions with nor supplies merchandise for Russian armed forces reasons,” nor presents funding to “anyone exterior Evraz.” 

Abramovich has also managed “close and cordial” relations with President Putin, and “benefited obviously from his abnormally near romantic relationship with Putin,” in accordance to a lawyer for the bloc.

The EU’s sanctions hit Abramovich and a tranche of other Russian billionaires and oligarchs shortly following the invasion past February, freezing his property and proscribing travel across the bloc. The previous Chelsea magnate has remained in Nemchinovo, on the outskirts of Moscow,

Abramovich is 1 amid many sanctioned Russian billionaires, who have challenged sanctions against them at the EU’s greatest court docket. Final week, a lawyer for Mikail Fridman that the oligarch’s daily life experienced been “destroyed” by the EU restrictions.

Though Abramovich has stopped brief of explicitly condemning Russia’s war hard work in Ukraine, his spokesperson past 12 months claimed that the Ukrainian government tried to solicit Abramovich’s support in “achieving a peaceful solution” amid the ongoing conflict. Abramovich had agreed to Ukraine’s ask for in aiding to established up humanitarian corridors for all those fleeing the war in Ukraine, his law firm said.

The circumstance quantity is T-313/22 Abramovich v Council.

–With assistance from Stephanie Bodoni.

(Updates with former comment from Evraz in seventh paragraph)

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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