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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

UK Further Sanctions Russian Oligarchs Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has imposed sanctions on two additional Russian oligarchs, Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov.

Mr Usmanov’s firm, USM, has previously sponsored Arsenal and, until this week, Everton.

Mr Shuvalov served as the deputy prime minister of Russia under President Vladimir Putin and is now the head of a Russian bank’s management board.

Their assets will be frozen, and they will be barred from entering the UK under the new limitations imposed by the UK government.

They will not be able to deal with British persons or enterprises.

“We will continue to utilize every power we have to inflict maximum economic pain on Putin and his war machine as long as he continues his barbarous onslaught on innocent Ukrainians,” Boris Johnson stated.

“We won’t stop here,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, “our goal is to destroy the Russian economy and starve Putin’s war machine.”

The two men had “major interests in the UK and strong ties to the Kremlin,” according to the authorities.

Mr. Usmanov formed the USM Holding corporation, which owns iron, steel, and copper suppliers as well as the Megafon telecommunications company.

Mr Usmanov has a 49 percent ownership in the firm, which funded Everton’s training field and had a naming-rights option for the club’s new stadium, which is set to open in 2024.

Everton, on the other hand, canceled the company’s sponsorship on Wednesday, citing the club’s “shock and sadness” over the “appalling events happening in Ukraine.”

Farhad Moshiri, Mr Usmanov’s business partner and Everton’s primary investor, has subsequently stood down as chairman of USM and said that he has terminated all commercial ties with the Russian.

Everton’s players marched out draped in Ukrainian flags before the club’s FA cup encounter against Boreham Wood on Thursday evening, led by Vitaliy Mykolenko, a 22-year-old Ukrainian defender who has been named captain on just his fourth appearance for his new club.

Mr Usmanov’s prior links with Arsenal came to an end in 2018 when he sold a 30% share in the club. He was the second-largest stakeholder in the north London club at the time.

Mr Usmanov also owns Beechwood House in Highgate, which is worth an estimated £48 million, and the 16th century Sutton Place estate in Surrey, according to the authorities.

Mr Shuvalov is less well-known in the United Kingdom, although according to the Foreign Office, he owns “two beautiful properties in central London valued at an estimated £11 million.”

The Foreign Office also announced the formation of an Oligarch Taskforce to help coordinate efforts to penalize more oligarchs.

Mr Usmanov’s assets were frozen by the EU earlier this week, citing him as a “pro-Kremlin billionaire with especially strong relations to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Mr Usmanov made a statement at the time, calling the EU’s ruling “unfair” and promising to “take all legal measures” to safeguard his honor and reputation.

Mr Shuvalov, the other person sanctioned, has served in the Russian government as a first deputy minister and head of staff, as well as serving as a Putin confidant.

He has been the chairman of the management board of VEB, one of the Russian banks that the government just sanctioned, since 2018.

On Wednesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked Prime Minister Theresa May to take action against Mr Shuvalov, accusing her of being sluggish to tackle other members of Putin’s cabinet.

According to government officials, putting up sanctions against such individuals might take weeks.

The UK should take oligarchs’ UK assets, according to Labour and several top Conservative leaders.

“We should be seeking promptly to take any assets related to individuals who are benefitting from Putin’s war machine, keeping it in trust and returning it to the Russian people as soon as possible,” said Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, head of the Commons foreign affairs committee.

In other news, the United States has imposed further sanctions on Russian oligarchs, including Mr Usmanov, Mr Shuvalov, and Mr Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov.

Mr Usmanov’s boats have been confiscated by authorities in France and Germany.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has stated that the government would look at measures to prevent wealthy individuals from using lawsuits to intimidate journalists and organizations who cover their wealth and financial interests.

The administration is anticipated to provide a range of alternatives for reforming the system, including court procedural reforms and perhaps legislation.

“We will not have individuals connected to Putin coming here to attempt to impoverish those who shed a light on his abuses,” Mr Raab told the Telegraph.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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