Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK sanctions Abramovich and Usmanov’s financial fixers in crackdown on oligarch enablers [April 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 12 April 2023.

New sanctions announced target those who have knowingly assisted sanctioned Russia oligarchs to hide their assets in complex financial networks.

  • fresh UK action targets those helping oligarchs to avoid the full cost of sanctions
  • Demetris Ioannides and Christodoulos Vassiliades – financial fixers for Putin’s allies Abramovich and Usmanov – sanctioned
  • Usmanov’s financial network, including companies USM, Curzon Square and Hanley Limited sanctioned
  • family members of oligarchs acting as proxies to hide wealth also sanctioned

New sanctions announced by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly today (Wednesday 12 April) target those who have knowingly assisted sanctioned Russia oligarchs to hide their assets in complex financial networks.

In the face of unprecedented international sanctions in response to Putin’s illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine – with over £18 billion of Russian and other assets frozen in the UK alone – oligarchs have scrambled to shield their wealth with the help of financial fixers, offshore trusts, shell companies, and even using their family members.

Now UK experts have uncovered their financial networks – tracing those responsible for facilitating the activity and sanctioning them directly with asset freezes, travel bans, transport sanctions, and trust services sanctions. Working in partnership across Whitehall, the FCDO, HMRC, NCA, OFSI and others such as DfT, are enforcing sanctions and pursuing those who try to undermine them.

Among those sanctioned are Demetris Ioannides and Christodoulos Vassiliades, 2 Cypriot professional enablers supporting major Russian oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov. Ioannides is responsible for crafting the murky offshore structures which Abramovich used to hide over £760 million assets ahead of being sanctioned following Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. Vassiliades, a Cypriot lawyer, is at the centre of a web of trusts and offshore companies that link Usmanov and Sutton Place Estate.

The UK has also targeted Usmanov’s financial network, including companies USM, Curzon Square Limited, and Hanley Limited. Sanctioning these companies ensures that assets associated with Usmanov – including the £90 million Beechwood House mansion in London – remain sanctioned. Curzon Square Limited, the outfit that acted as Usmanov’s London office and as leaseholder of a Grade II mansion on Curzon Square, is also subject to an asset freeze. Vladimir and Varvara Skoch, the father and daughter of Usmanov’s business partner and ”richest man in the Duma” Andrei Skoch, have also been sanctioned.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

We are closing the net on the Russian elite and those who try to help them hide their money for war.

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

Together with our international partners the UK will continue to crack down on those who are supporting the war.

We won’t stop until Putin does.

Today’s package hits a number of family members of other oligarchs, who are used as proxies to hide their assets. This includes:

  • Tatiana Evtushenkova, the acting director of firm Redline Capital which is owned by her father, Vladimir Evtushenkov
  • Natalia Evtushenkov, wife of Vladimir Evtushenkov who holds board positions in banks and other companies in which her husband owns stakes including MTS Bank. She is also on the board of directors for Telecomms company Instacom International, which is owned by her husband
  • Felix Evtushenkov, whose father Vladimir transferred 10% of shares in Russian conglomerate Sistema to Felix at the time of his own designation, bringing Vladimir’s stake to below 50%
  • Gulnara Kerimova, who holds four luxury villas in France on behalf of her father Suleyman Kerimov
  • Nariman Gadzhiev, who acts as the beneficiary owner of a series of shell companies connected to Kerimov. A company linked to Gadzhiev was found to be transferring hundreds of millions of dollars to companies linked to his uncle Kerimov
  • Oksana Marchenko, the wife of key Putin ally Victor Medvedchuk, and owner of multiple luxury properties in Crimea

Today’s package comes as part of the UK’s crackdown on all forms of evasion and circumvention – including an additional £50 million announced as part of the new Economic Deterrence Initiative to support sanctions enforcement and continued work with international partners.

The Home Secretary also recently announced the expansion of the National Crime Agency’s Combating Kleptocracy Cell to target corrupt elites and their enablers.

The UK, alongside international partners, is also continuing to strengthen the unprecedented sanctions imposed to constrain Russia’s capacity to wage its illegal war – including through the new enforcement co-ordination mechanism to bolster the compliance and enforcement of our measures.

By implementing these measures, the UK is ensuring – consistent with its legal systems – that Putin and those who continue to support his war have no access to any of these assets until they end their violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.