There'll be no cash assets to freeze by time UK sanctions take effect, says lawyer

3 March 2022, 17:21

By Tim Dodd

Sanctions Lawyer Nigel Kushner tells James O'Brien there'll be no cash assets for the UK to freeze by the time its sanctions against Russia are applied.

It comes as the UK government has been accused of opening up a loophole in their sanctions against Russia by granting their second biggest bank, VTB Bank, a month-long exemption from the enforcement of an assets freeze.

The government is also accused of giving Russian oligarchs linked to Putin an 18-month transition period to sell their UK property and move assets abroad in new property registration rules.

Mr Kushner told James O'Brien: "There'll be no assets to freeze, at least in terms of cash, because the cash will have been dissipated long ago.

"Less easy with companies and properties and so on, because it takes time to sell those and you don't want to sell them at a fire sale price. "A cynic may say that the government is giving a little bit of time for people to get their house in order."

Read more: Roman Abramovich puts Chelsea up for sale with money set to go to victims of Ukraine war

"What would a realist say?" James asked.

"A realist may say, and Liz Truss has said that aggressive lawyers are threatening to bring claims against the government because it is unfair that their oligarch clients are being sanctioned, and as a result there is a requirement for more homework to be done," Mr Kushner replied.

Mr Kushner said there's "no doubt" that Russian oligarchs will be transferring funds out of the UK "by hook or by crook" before they are caught by the imposition of sanctions on their assets.

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