UK slap sanctions on two more Russian oligarchs including Alisher Usmanov

3 March 2022, 19:11 | Updated: 3 March 2022, 20:15

Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov have been hit with sanctions
Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov have been hit with sanctions. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Full asset freezes and travel bans have been slapped on two oligarchs in the latest round of UK measures against Russia over the invasion on Ukraine.

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The Foreign Office said Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov have been hit over their connection to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "Our message to Putin and his allies has been clear from day one - invading Ukraine would have serious and crippling economic consequences.

"Sanctioning Usmanov and Shuvalov sends a clear message that we will hit oligarchs and individuals closely associated with the Putin regime and his barbarous war. We won't stop here. Our aim is to cripple the Russian economy and starve Putin's war machine."

The White House has also announced new action against oligarchs and companies.

A total of 19 oligarchs and 47 of their associates and family members will be hit with visa restrictions too.

"These individuals and their family members will be cut off from the US financial system; their assets in the United States will be frozen and their property will be blocked from use," the White House said.

Mr Usmanov is among those being hit by the measures.

The fresh round of sanctions come as the UK government comes under increasing pressure to go after oligarchs' assets after French and German authorities seized yachts in an EU clampdown on Vladimir Putin's allies.

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French authorities today said they had seized a yacht linked to Igor Sechin, who runs Russian oil giant Rosneft, as part of sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The French Finance Ministry said in a statement that customs authorities carried out an inspection of the Amore Vero in the Mediterranean resort of La Ciotat.

The boat had been slated to stay there for repair work until April 1 but, when customs officers arrived, crew members were preparing an urgent departure even though the work wasn't finished, the statement said.

The boat was seized to prevent its departure.

Meanwhile, a yacht belonging to Alisher Usmanov, the billionaire who Everton Football Club recently cut ties with and previously owned part of Arsenal, has been seized by German authorities.

The 512-ft craft, called the Dilbar and worth a reported $600m, was seized at a shipyard in Hamburg.

It comes as the UK government fell under pressure to pursue the assets of Russian oligarchs as part of its next sanctioning steps.

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Referencing Mr Usmanov's yacht, security minister Damian Hinds was pressed by LBC's Nick Ferrari on whether similar action on elite Russians should be taken in Britain.

It comes after Roman Abramovich announced he is selling Chelsea for reportedly as much as £3bn, with questions being raised as to why his assets have not yet been seized.

Mr Hinds said: "Look, we are going to go further.

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"We've acted very quickly on the initial round of sanctions - that includes individuals as well as organisations, banks and so on - but we've always been clear it is a ratchet approach and there can be more to come.

"Specifically on assets, we've got legislation going through Parliament at the moment... to include bolstering unexplained wealth orders, which are a potentially potent tool that can open investigations to lead to the proceeds of crime being seized."

"We are absolutely motivated to seize the proceeds of crime," he added.

Senior Tory MP Tobias Ellwood added to calls for the UK to confiscate oligarchs' assets before eventually returning their wealth to the Russian people.