EU court dismisses Russian oligarch Abramovich’s lawsuit to lift sanctions

Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich lost his legal fight to overturn the EU economic sanctions over his role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The EU’s second-highest court upheld economic sanctions against a Russian oligarch, citing his stake in a critical and lucrative steel company in the Russian Federation. 

The EU Court of Justice dismissed Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s lawsuit to lift the EU’s restrictive measures imposed on him in connection with Russia’s war against Ukraine, the Court House News reported.

The former owner of the Chelsea football club was one of dozens of Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the EU after Putin’s regime the invasion of Ukraine. The punishment was a part of measures targeting Russia and its president Putin’s close allies.

Roman Abramovich tried to challenge the listing of himself in the sanctions lists and wanted to receive compensation in the amount of one million euros for the damage to his reputation.

According to the EU court’s decision, Abramovich, former politician in Russia and a businessman, keeps a nearly 30% stake in Evraz, one of Russia’s largest steel companies. His enterprise provides substantial financial support to the Kremlin and has benefited from the war in Ukraine, according to the decision.

“The court rejects Mr. Abramovich’s claim and thus upholds the restrictions imposed on him. The EU Council did not err in its assessments when deciding to include and maintain Mr. Abramovich’s name on the lists, given his role in the Evraz Group and in particular its parent company,” the Luxembourg-based court said in a statement, Reuters reported.

“Although the applicant disputes his status as a major shareholder of Evraz … it is established not only that he is one of the largest shareholders of the parent company of Evraz, but also, according to the prospectus of the latter placed in the case file by the applicant, that he is the main shareholder,” the court said.

The court also concluded that the inclusion of the oligarch in the sanctions lists was not an unjustified and disproportionate violation of his fundamental rights, including the right to respect for private and family life, freedom of business, and freedom of movement.

Russian businessman Abramovich appealed to the fact that he also holds the citizenship of the EU member state of Portugal.

“As Mr. Abramovich has failed to prove that the inclusion and maintenance of his name on the list were contrary to the law, his claim for compensation has also been rejected,” the communiqué adds.

Roman Abramovich has been under UK sanctions since March 10, 2022, and under the EU sanctions since March 15, 2022. Russian tycoon is also on the sanction lists of Ukraine, Canada, Australia, and other nations.

The EU added the Russian tycoon to the list of hundreds of Russians who are prohibited from entering the EU and have had their financial assets seized. The 12th package of the EU sanctions against Russia was adopted last week. New measures include a ban on Russian diamonds.

Recently, Lithuania found out that Abramovich’s children have Lithuanian citizenship. In this regard, President Gitanas Nausėda instructed the government to check whether the law was applied correctly when making this decision and whether they helped their father circumvent sanctions.

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