Thirty eight Russian people and entities including Oleg Deripaska, one of the most well-known oligarchs in Britain, have been hit by new sanctions from Donald Trump.
Mr Deripaska, a 50-year-old energy tycoon, has been accused by America of acting “directly or indirectly” on behalf of the Russian government.
The US Treasury said Mr Deripaska had been accused of money laundering, “threatening the lives of business rivals” and illegally wire-tapping a government official.
The new sanctions were taken by America to punished Russia for its recent “malign behaviour” including its attempt to “subvert Western democracies” and support of the Syrian regime.
The Salisbury spy poisoning was also included in the Russia action being punished, according to a senior US administration official, though it was not the direct cause of the sanctions.
Seven Russian oligarchs and their 12 companies have been targeted as well as 17 senior government officials, a state-owned weapons trader and its subsidiary, a Russian bank.
The government officials affected include the chairman of the state-owned Gazprombank and the director of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops.
All those targeted will have their assets under US jurisdiction frozen. Americans are also generally barred from dealing with them.
Mr Deripaska, who owns property in Britain, is well known in the UK for his infamous yacht meeting with Lord [Peter] Mandelson, the Labour politician, and George Osborne, the former Tory chancellor, in 2008.
The pair were entertained by Mr Deripaska on his 238ft (73m) Queen K in Corfu. At the time Lord Mandelson was the EU trade commissioner and Mr Osborne was the shadow chancellor.
The meeting triggered a political backlash for both men. Lord Mandelson faced questions after supporting cuts to European aluminium import duties, which benefited Mr Deripaska’s company.
Mr Osborne was accused of soliciting a donation from Mr Deripaska, who was not a British citizen. Both denied any wrongdoing.
Mr Deripaska’s company EN+ Group, based on Jersey in the Channel Islands, is being hit by sanctions. It is an aluminium and power producer.
Basic Element Limited, a private investment and management company linked to Mr Deripska, has also been targeted. So too is EuroSibEnergo, one of the largest independent power companies in Russia.
The US Treasury said Mr Deripaska was among those who “owned or controlled” the companies “directly or indirectly”.
The Trump administration’s decision to deliberately target figures close to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is a deliberate attempt to force him to change direction.
Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, said: “The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities.
“Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities.”
Senior US administration officials said the action was “not in response to any single issue” but designed to tackle “the totality” of Russia’s “increasingly brazen” activity across the world.
One said that the message to Russia was that “actions have consequences” and called on those hit by the sanctions to “wield their influence” to encourage a change in direction.
Kirill Shamalov, another Russian energy tycoon, was among those oligarchs targeted. He married Mr Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova in February 2013.
The US Treasury claimed his fortunes “dramatically improved” after the marriage, receiving a “large portion” of shares in Sibur, a Russia-based oil and gas company, 18 months after the wedding.
Also on the list is Suleiman Kerimov, a businessman and politician with an estimated $5bn (£3.5bn) fortune, who has been dubbed “the Russian Gatsby” for his extravagant spending.
An economist by training, he made his fortune through a series of canny investments in the 1990s. In 2011 his profile was raised when he bought the football team Anzhi Makhachkala, using his clout to lure high-profile footballers such as Roberto Carlos and Samuel Eto’o, before selling it in 2016.
Mr Kerimov’s family controls 83pc of London-listed Polyus, Russia’s largest gold miner. Polyus quit the London market in 2015 as sanctions tightened on Russia in the wake of the annexation of Crimea, but re-listed last year when it floated 7pc of the company – timing that may now seem ill-judged.
Last month Polyus’s chairman Edward Dowling told Tthe Telegraph he hoped the City would look beyond geopolitical tensions with Russia and consider investing in the company. Polyus itself has so far escaped sanctions.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/06/donald-trump-hits-38-russian-people-entities-new-sanctions-punish/