EU agrees to freeze assets of Sberbank boss, Putin’s daughters By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Sberbank in Moscow, Russia December 24, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has agreed to freeze the assets in the EU of the boss of Russia’s main lender Sberbank, the two daughters of Vladimir Putin and other oligarchs, according to a document published in the official newspaper of the European Union on Friday. EU.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the EU has blacklisted around 700 people linked to the Kremlin or accused of supporting the invasion, which Moscow describes as a “special operation”. However, this has not always led to a rapid freezing of assets, amid legal obstacles and sometimes a lack of political will.

The new measures will affect more than 200 additional people, mainly from the separatist regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, as well as businessmen, politicians and soldiers close to the Kremlin.

Eighteen other entities have also been hit with asset freezes, including four banks, such as VTB, and military companies, nearly doubling the number of companies hit by sanctions since the start of the war.

Herman Gref, the head of Sberbank, was added to the EU blacklist, according to the document, in a symbolically important move. The EU has so far refrained from sanctioning the bank, which plays a key role in energy payments.

Putin’s daughters, Ekaterina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova, were also punished for benefiting from the Russian government, according to the document.

Putin had already been sanctioned in an initial round of restrictive measures, although it is unclear how many assets, if any, he and his family hold in the EU.

Wealthy oligarchs typically use front men or shell companies and anonymous trusts to protect their assets, making it very difficult, if not impossible, for investigators to identify them, especially in jurisdictions with lax beneficiary rules. company workforce.

Surgutneftegas oil company executive Vladimir Bogdanov, aluminum giant Rusal founder Oleg Deripaska, billionaire Boris Rotenberg, majority shareholder of Russia’s top gold producer Polyus Said Kerimov, and trading platform chief Russian electronics Ozon Alexander Shulgin were also sanctioned.

The new listings are part of the EU’s fifth round of sanctions against Russia, which includes a ban on coal imports and restrictions on entry into the EU for Russian ships and trucks.

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