UK adds two Roman Abramovich ‘business associates’ to Russia sanctions list

Oligarchs Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov among four steel and petrochemical tycoons put on list

Two Russian oligarchs and business partners of Roman Abramovich, whose sprawling wealth was revealed by a Guardian investigation, have been added to the UK government’s sanctions list in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov, whom the UK government said were “known to be business associates” of the former Chelsea FC owner, were on Wednesday among four new Russian steel and petrochemical tycoons added to the sanctions list.

It comes six months after the Guardian revealed the extent of the wealth of Abramov and Frolov, including offshore investments in a Caribbean island resort, plans to redevelop a Marylebone church and a vast array of property in the UK and abroad.

The pair previously owned large stakes in Russian steel and coking coal producer Evraz, which was part-owned by Abramovich and subjected to sanctions in May. Abramovich was one of the first oligarchs to be subjected to sanctions.

The Foreign Office is also understood to have investigated financial connections between the pair and another sanctioned oligarch, Eugene Shvidler, whose fortune is valued at $1.6bn by Forbes. Shvidler, who was sanctioned in March, is another close associate of Abramovich and chaired the British company Millhouse Capital which managed assets for Abramovich.

James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, said: “Putin continues to rely on his cabal of selected elite to maintain control of his industrial complex and fuel his illegal invasion of Ukraine. Today we are sanctioning an additional four oligarchs who rely on Putin for their positions of authority and in turn fund his military machine.

“By targeting these individuals, we are ramping up the economic pressure on Putin and will continue to do so until Ukraine prevails.”

Abramov, who the government said had an estimated £4.1bn fortune, is a steel baron who founded Evraz and oversaw its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2005, and was awarded Russia’s Decoration For Beneficence in 2017. He was pictured with Vladimir Putin and the Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, at the award ceremony.

Frolov, whom the government says has a £1.7bn fortune, is a former director and former chief executive of Evraz. The pair are said to have UK property investments worth an estimated £100m, according to documents seen by the Guardian in April.

Both men were also named on the “Putin List” of 210 prominent Russians released by the US Treasury in 2018.

The Guardian has previously reported that their investments included:

  • West Caicos, a Caribbean island intended to be developed as a luxury resort island.

  • Proposed but rejected redevelopment of St Paul’s church, Robert Adam Street, London, to include office space.

  • Shepherd’s Bush market in London, via investment in the company aiming to acquire a majority stake.

  • Office space in London, Leicester and Glasgow.

  • A Prague golf course community with homes and a hotel and spa.

  • Land and a part-built hotel in Mykonos, alongside an operating partner.

  • An office on Clifford Street, one of London’s most prestigious Mayfair addresses.

Both men were also named on the “Putin List” of 210 prominent Russians released by the US Treasury in 2018. Abramov, Frolov and Evraz did not respond to earlier requests for comment.

Also added to the sanctions list on Wednesday were Airat Shaimiev, CEO of Russian transport and construction company OAO Tatavtodor, who is estimated by the government to have a global net worth of £900m, and Albert Shigabutdinov, the boss of the AO TAIF group, which owns about 96% of chemical and petrochemical processing in the Tatarstan region of Russia and has an estimated net worth of £977m.

All four will face a travel ban, asset freeze and transport sanctions.


Rupert Neate and Jessica Elgot

The GuardianTramp

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