The UK freezes the assets of two associates of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich
London said it had imposed the largest-ever asset freeze on two of Abramovich’s associates – Chelsea club director Eugene Tenenbaum and business associate David Davidovich. They will also face a travel ban, meaning they will be denied the right to enter or stay in the UK.
According to Reuters, frozen assets amount to 10 billion USD.
Tenenbaum, 57, born in Ukraine when the country was part of the Soviet Union, spent 19 years on the Chelsea board. Previously, he served as the corporate finance director of Sibneft, a Russian oil company that Abramovich sold in 2006.
According to Reuters, on February 24, when the Russian military operation in Ukraine began, Abramovich transferred Ervington Investments Limited to Tenenbaum. The company acted as an “investment vehicle” for Abramovich for at least eight years, having invested $600 million in Yandex (the top search engine in Russia) and Via, a car-sharing app.
Tenenbaum says the purchase of Ervington Investments complies with all laws and regulations, as it is a company he has worked for for many years. Thereafter, Ervington Investments was transferred again to Davidovich.
In addition, Abramovich also transferred another company, Norma Investments, to Davidovich on February 24. According to company filings, Norma has stakes in renewable fuels and biotech companies.
Abramovich, along with several other Russian tycoons, was sanctioned by Britain and the European Union last month. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Britain was “squeezing the war machine” of Russia, targeting “the group of people closest to the Kremlin” and that sanctions would continue.
However, Abramovich has denied having a close relationship with Russian President Putin.
The UK government was initially slower than the US and EU in imposing sanctions on Russia, but has been gradually accelerating the process. The UK has also announced it is targeting Russian banks and moving to phase out oil and coal imports from Russia by the end of 2022.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that Moscow was prepared to take steps to minimize the impact of sanctions on the country. In addition, Russia has also taken some countermeasures, but declared that it does not want to enter a “punitive war” with other countries.
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