Who are the seven Russian oligarchs added to sanctions list by UK over Ukraine crisis?

Among them is a billionaire once married to the daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is one of the figures affected by the UK's sanctions. Reuters
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Britain expanded its sanctions regime against Russian President Vladimir Putin's cronies on Thursday, hitting seven more oligarchs over their links to the leader.

Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich was the most high-profile name on the list, as the UK government imposed asset freezes and a travel ban on the billionaire.

Others targeted in retaliation for Russia's invasion of Ukraine included leading industrialist Oleg Deripaska, Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin and the head of Gazprom Alexei Miller.

Collectively, the seven have a net worth of about £15 billion, the Conservative-led government said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the sanctions "the latest step in the UK's unwavering support for the Ukrainian people".

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "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."

The seven oligarchs

Roman Abramovich, 55. The government has for weeks resisted calls to sanction Mr Abramovich over his perceived close ties to the Kremlin. It is believed ministers were trying to build a strong case against him before imposing curbs on his freedom of movement and financial assets.

The Russian-Israeli made his fortune in the post-Soviet years and was close to former Russian president Boris Yeltsin. He has always staunchly denied any current political links to Russia’s ruling elite.

He is the largest stakeholder in London-listed Russian-focused mining company Evraz, with an ownership of 29 per cent.

Mr Abramovich bought Chelsea FC in 2003 and bankrolled its successes at domestic and European levels.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, the tycoon announced he was stepping back from the day-to-day running of the club. A week later he said he was selling Chelsea and would donate the "net proceeds" to help Ukrainian war victims.

The sale of the club is on hold in light of the sanctions.

Jets and yachts owned or chartered by Mr Abramovich can been seized under the sanctions.

The UK government estimated his net worth at £9.4 billion (€11.1 billion, $12.2 billion), but said it was mitigating the effect of the sanctions on Chelsea by allowing the club to continue to operate.

Mr Abramovich received financial benefits from the Kremlin, including tax breaks for his companies, the buying and selling of shares from and to the state at favourable rates, and contacts in the run up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, ministers claimed.

The government described Mr Abramovich as “a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch” who is “associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” – namely President Putin.

Indeed the men are described as having had “a close relationship for decades”, an association which has resulted in “financial or other material benefit” from the Russian regime, the government said.

A special licence "authorises a number of football-related activities", the government said.

"This includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football-related activity which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs," it said.

Oleg Deripaska, 54. The industrialist is worth £2 billion and has had close links with the British political establishment. He has a multi-million pound property portfolio in the UK.

He is Mr Abramovich's one-time business partner and has stakes in En+ Group, an Anglo-Russian green energy and metals company.

He was caught up in controversy in 2008 when, alongside financier Nathaniel Rothcschild, he hosted future chancellor of the exchequor George Osbourne and Labour minister Peter Mandelson on a yacht in Corfu.

The government said Mr Deripaska is “a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch”, who is “closely associated” with both the Russian government and its president. As with Mr Abramovich, it said Mr Deripaska is “involved in destabilising and threatening” Ukraine.

It said he “has been involved in obtaining benefit from or supporting the government of Russia, by carrying on business in, and owning or controlling and working as a director or equivalent in businesses in the Russian extractives and energy sectors” particularly useful to the Kremlin.

Igor Sechin, 61. Officials described Mr Sechin as Russian President Vladimir Putin's "right-hand man" and the second most important person in the country.

He is chief executive of Rosneft, the state-owned oil company.

French customs last week seized a yacht linked to Mr Sechin.

Andrey Kostin, 65. The chairman of VTB, a Russian state-owned bank.

Mr Kostin is also a member of the supreme council of the United Russia political party and deemed a “close associate” of Mr Putin who has “long supported” the Kremlin.

He has a net worth of an estimated £379 million, and has previously been sanctioned by the US and the EU.

Alexei Miller, 60. The CEO of energy company Gazprom, Russia's largest company and the world' biggest public energy supplier.

He is a former deputy minister of energy and in 2005 was named "Person of the Year" by Expert, a Russian business magazine.

Mr Miller to be “one of the most important executives” backing the Kremlin. The British government has described him as a “prominent Russian businessman with close personal ties to Vladimir Putin”. It also cited Gazprom’s role in supplying gas to Crimea – illegally annexed by Russia in 2014 – as being financially involved with the Kremlin.

Nikolai Tokarev, 71: The president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft.

Mr Tokarev is a former KGB officer who served alongside Mr Putin in East Germany towards the end of the Cold War. It is claimed the pair have remained closely associated ever since.

Mr Tokarev worked under Mr Putin at the presidential property management department during the Nineties.

Dmitri Lebedev, 53. The businessman and financier serves as the chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya, a Russian joint stock bank.

Mr Lebedev’s involvement in the financial sector is deemed to be of strategic significance to the Russian government. British ministers cited Bank Rossiya’s opening of branches across Crimea since it was annexed from Ukraine in 2014 as key to their decision to add him to the sanctions list.

It also highlighted Sogaz’s role in insuring the construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait between the Russian mainland and the Crimean peninsula, thus supporting the internationally condemned annexation.

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The latest expansion of sanctions came a week after Mr Johnson's previous extension of punitive measures against Russian businesses, when five more Russian oligarchs were added to a wider list of targets.

Among them was a billionaire once married to the daughter of Mr Putin, and major financial figures.

"They come to Harrods to shop, they stay in our best hotels when they like, they send their children to our best public schools, and that is what's being stopped," a diplomatic source said.

"So that these people are essentially persona non grata in every major western European capital in the world. That really bites."

The five oligarchs previously named are:

Kirill Shamalov, 39. He is Russia's youngest billionaire and the former husband of Mr Putin's daughter Katerina Tikhonova.

Pyotr Fradkov, 43. He is head of the sanctioned Promsvyazbank, which finances Russian defence industries, and the son of Mikhail Fradkov, a former prime minister of Russia who was chief of its foreign intelligence service.

Denis Bortnikov, 47. The deputy president of government-affiliated VTB bank. His father, Alexander Bortnikov, is head of the Federal Security Service .

Yury Slyusar, 47. The director of United Aircraft Corporation, one of the major defence organisations that has also had sanctions imposed.

Elena Georgieva, 45. The chairwoman of the board of Novikombank, a state-owned defence conglomerate that finances Rostec.

The wider sanctions package include:

  • Impose asset freezes on all major Russian banks, including immediately against VTB, the second largest bank, with assets totalling £154 billion ($206bn)
  • Banning all major Russian companies from raising finance on UK markets and the Russian state from raising sovereign debt on the UK markets
  • Individual sanctions against more than 100 people, entities and subsidiaries including Rostec, Russia's biggest defence company said to employ more than two million people, with exports of more than £10bn of arms each year
Updated: March 10, 2022, 1:34 PM