Abramovich Can’t Escape Europe’s Russia Sanctions

Abramovich Cant Escape Europes Russia Sanctions

In a legal showdown laden with the weight of geopolitical tensions, Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire and former owner of Chelsea Football Club, faced a resolute setback as the European Union’s General Court delivered a decisive ruling on Wednesday. The court maintained that the EU’s sanctions freezing Abramovich’s assets and barring his entry into the bloc are not an “unjustified” violation of his fundamental rights.

Abramovich Can’t Escape Europe’s Russia Sanctions : A Blow to Abramovich

The judgment, a resounding blow to Abramovich, asserted that his name would persist on the list of individuals subjected to restrictive measures, a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The court underlined his pivotal role as the majority shareholder of Evraz’s parent company, a prominent Russian entity in steel and mining.

Influence and Economic Impact: Court’s Verdict

The court rejected Abramovich’s attempt to prove the illegality of his inclusion on the sanctions list, upholding the European Council’s decision. Citing his “influential businessman” status due to professional and economic significance, the court emphasized the “sufficiently concrete, precise and consistent evidence” that linked Abramovich’s economic activities to substantial income for the Russian government.

Abramovich Can’t Escape Europe’s Russia Sanctions: Sanctions’ Purpose

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, the judgment elucidated that Abramovich’s actions contributed significantly to bolstering the Russian government’s resources. These resources, in turn, fueled actions undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence. The court underscored the sanctions’ purpose: to escalate pressure on Russia and increase the costs of its operations against Ukraine.

Compensation Denied: Legal Fallout Continues

Abramovich’s claim for €1 million ($1.1 million) in compensation as a result of the sanctions was summarily dismissed by the court. This legal defeat adds to the woes of the billionaire, who has already faced asset freezes and business complications initiated by the U.K. government.

UK’s Aggressive Stance: Oligarchs in the Crosshairs

The U.K. government, aligning itself with other European nations, had frozen Abramovich’s assets in March 2022, targeting individuals close to President Vladimir Putin. This move included a freeze on Evraz’s assets in May 2022, strategically aiming at critical elements of Russia’s military economy.

Abramovich Can’t Escape Europe’s Russia Sanctions: Shvidler’s Parallel Struggle

Abramovich’s legal woes find an echo in the failed challenge of his associate, billionaire oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, who lost a High Court battle in August against U.K. sanctions. The court, supporting the Foreign Office’s argument, emphasized the signaling effect these restrictions had on Britain’s stance towards those associated, directly or indirectly, with Russia’s regime.