ECJ rules against sanctions on 2 Russian billionaires

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 11 Apr 2024 by Alex Teddy

On April 10 the European Court of Justice ruled that sanctions on Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven are unlawful because the European Union did not provide sufficient evidence that they should be sanctioned. They were sanctioned in 2022 only 2 days after the Ukraine War began. The men were also sanctioned by the United States and the UK. The court ruled that the EU had failed to demonstrate that either man approved of the invasion of Ukraine or facilitated decision makers in the Kremlin. The court ruling does not have any immediate effect. The initial sanctions in 2022 were ruled unlawful. However, these sanctions were confirmed in 2023. For the moment the sanctions remain in place. It is possible that a subsequent court action might end the sanctions on the two men.  Aven is a dual Russian and Latvian citizen. Fridman is a joint Russian and Israeli citizen.  Fridman co-founded Alfa Group, which is an investment conglomerate. Aven ran Alfa until 2022. Fridman has been living in London since 2015. He denied accusations that he is influential in the Kremlin. Aven also denies the assertion that he is a crony of Putin. Russian oppositionists outside Russia requested the EU to lift sanctions on the two men. But some Russian opposition activists say that the sanctions should have remained. It is noted that the two businessmen did not dissent from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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