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Chelsea owner and metal magnate among Jersey-sanctioned oligarchs

Chelsea owner and metal magnate among Jersey-sanctioned oligarchs

Friday 11 March 2022

Chelsea owner and metal magnate among Jersey-sanctioned oligarchs

Friday 11 March 2022

Sanctions have been applied to two oligarchs who have previously been linked to Jersey.

Jersey’s Government has pledged to follow the UK in applying sanctions to Russian individuals and companies since the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and metal magnate Oleg Deripaska were among those to be named in a sanctions list released by the UK Government yesterday. Jersey announced that afternoon that it would be following.  

Finance firms are now being ordered to check whether they hold any account, funds or other economic resources linked to these individuals, and freeze them “without notice and without delay.”

Any findings must be reported to the Government and failure to comply is a criminal offence.

Both individuals have previously been linked to Jersey.

In 2018, it emerged that Roman Abramovich was due to move to the island, after being offered residency under the high-value scheme run by Locate Jersey officials.

However, that move was held up after the Chelsea FC owner’s UK visa renewal – something vital for the move – hit delays amid heightened scrutiny of wealthy Russians in the wake of the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.

It later emerged that Mr Abramovich had been denied residency in Switzerland. He was later given Israeli citizenship.

Meanwhile, three businesses controlled by Abramovich's one-time business partner Oleg Deripaska were previously based in Jersey: management company Basic Element Limited, the world’s second largest aluminium producer Rusal PLC, and energy company EN+.

The process to pull those businesses out of Jersey began in December 2018.

Also appearing on yesterday’s sanctions list were:

  • Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Ivanovich Sechin, described by the UK Government as "Putin's right-hand man";

  • Dmitri Alekseevich Lebedev, Chair of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya;

  • Alexei Borisovich Miller, CEO of energy company Gazprom;

  • Andrei Leonidovich Kostin, Chair of VTB bank;

  • and Nikolai Petrovich Tokarev, president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft.

The UK Government said it estimated the net worth of all individuals on yesterday's sanctions list to be around £15bn.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the sanctions showed that "oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society", adding: "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."

External Relations Minister Senator Ian Gorst said “Jersey is cooperating with the UK in all measures, including in respect of those persons with links to Jersey who have been subject to sanctions."

He continued: "Our robust legislation is underscored by severe criminal consequences for those who fail to adhere to it.

“We are a responsible and internationally co-operative jurisdiction and are implementing all UK sanctions and are committed to remaining in lockstep with the UK.”

Alongside other Crown Dependency Ministers on Wednesday, Senator Gorst met with the UK’s Minister of State for Security and Borders, Damian Hinds MP, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility, Lord Callanan, to discuss the Economic Crime Bill.

The Bill forms part of the UK’s package of economic measures against targeted Russian individuals and organisations.

The meeting provided an update on elements of the legislation including:

  • the Register of Overseas Entities, which will ensure owners of UK property cannot hide behind opaque corporate structures registered overseas;

  • Unexplained Wealth Order powers, which will enable UK law enforcement agencies to take more effective action against kleptocrats and criminals, compelling them to prove the origins of their funds in the UK;

  • and changes to sanctions enforcement powers to ensure financial sanctions introduced by the Government are as effective as possible.

"Jersey has had a long-standing beneficial ownership register populated with accurate and vetted beneficial ownership information provided by regulated service providers," Senator Gorst added.

"We exchange this information with authorities worldwide, particularly with the UK and we welcome any efforts globally to improve the accuracy of registry data. We also remain committed to implementing a public registry in the timescale which has already been announced.”

Pictured top: Oleg Deripaska (left) and Roman Abramovich (right) at a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin and other Russian businessmen in the Kremlin in 2006.

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