UK Freezes Assets of Kremlin-Backed Oligarchs Roman Abramovich, Oleg Deripaska And Five Others

The UK has announced sanctions against seven Oligarchs including Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska, who are believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The move aims to press Moscow to stop its war against Ukraine as Kremlin's invasion has entered the 15th day with the continuous bombing of the Ukrainian cities.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Thursday announced a full asset freeze and travel ban on seven of Russia's wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with the Kremlin.

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich Reuters

Move Aims to Isolate Putin

The British government said that the move is part of the UK's leading efforts to isolate Putin and those around him, these oligarchs – who have a collective net worth of around £15bn - will have their assets in the UK frozen, they are banned from traveling here and no UK citizen or company may do business with them.

Those newly-sanctioned by the UK include Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club, worth more than £9 billion; leading industrialist Oleg Deripaska worth £2 billion, and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. A further group of Russia-based oligarchs close to Putin has also been placed under sanction.

Oleg Deripaska
Oleg Deripaska Reuters

No Support to Putin's Vicious Assault

"There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin's vicious assault on Ukraine. Today's sanctions are the latest step in the UK's unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies," said the British Prime Minister.

These sanctions are the latest step in the UK's response to Putin's illegal and unprovoked invasion, designed to ensure he fails in Ukraine by crippling Russia's economy supporting his war machine.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson Wikimedia commons

Blood of The Ukrainian People is on Oligarch's Hands

"Today's sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society. With their close links to Putin, they are complicit in his aggression. The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame," said Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Truss also said that Britain's support for Ukraine will not waver. "We will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine."

It came as next week the Economic Crime Bill coming into force, which will significantly simplify the process of imposing sanctions, allow the UK to more easily sanction individuals, stop oligarchs threatening the UK with multi-million-pound lawsuits for damages at the taxpayer's expense and also allow the UK to mirror allies' designations.

What Does Asset Freeze Mean in UK

The UK's asset freeze prevents any British citizen, or any business in the UK, from dealing with any funds or economic resources which are owned, held, or controlled by the designated person and which are held in the UK. It will also prevent funds or economic resources from being provided to or for the benefit of the designated person.

Roman Abramovich

Roman Abramovich, who was potentially behind supporting Putin's name as next President to then Russian President Boris Yeltsin, has stakes in steel giant Evraz, Norilsk Nickel, and owns Chelsea FC. He sold a 73% stake in Russian oil firm Sibneft to state-owned gas titan Gazprom for £9.87 billion in 2005. His net worth is an estimated £9.4 billion. He is one of the few oligarchs from the 1990s to maintain prominence under Putin. None of our allies have yet sanctioned Abramovich, according to the UK government.

Oleg Deripaska has stakes in En+ Group, a major extractives and energy company that owns UC Rusal, one of the world's major aluminum producers. He has a multi-million-pound property portfolio in the UK. His net worth is an estimated £2 billion. The US designated Deripaska in 2018.