June 23. 2024. 12:44

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UK sanctions ‘enablers’ accused of helping Russian oligarchs

New Russian sanctions target those who knowingly assisted sanctioned oligarchs in hiding their assets in complex financial networks, the UK Foreign Office announced on Wednesday.

Demetris Ioannides and Christodoulos Vassiliades – two Cypriot professional enablers who helped Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov hide their assets – were sanctioned by the UK government, the Foreign Office said in a press release on Wednesday. Family members of oligarchs acting as proxies to hide wealth were also sanctioned.

Ioannides is responsible for crafting offshore structures used by Abramovich to hide over £760 million in assets before he was sanctioned. Vassiliades, a Cypriot lawyer, is at the centre of a web of trusts and offshore companies that link Usmanov and Sutton Place Estate.

“​​We are closing the net on the Russian elite and those who try to help them hide their money for war,” said Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

The UK has frozen over £18 billion in Russian and other assets.

Meanwhile, the US announced sanctions against more than 120 individuals and entities worldwide for their ties to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“There’s no place to hide. We will keep cutting them off from assets they thought were successfully hidden,” said Cleverly.

(Sofia Stuart Leeson | EURACTIV.com)