UK’s fifth sanction package aims at Alrosa, Gazprombank, Alfa Bank, Tinkov and Gref

UK’s fifth sanction package aims at Alrosa, Gazprombank, Alfa Bank, Tinkov and Gref
The UK has released a fifth package of sanctions as the West tries to maintain the pressure on Russia to end its war on Ukraine / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews March 24, 2022

The UK has announced a new package of sanctions for the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, making it the first package of the fifth round of sanctions expected from the West amid G7 and Nato summits held on March 24. 

As followed by bne IntelliNews, the UK was previously the fastest to respond to the invasion of Ukraine, kicking off unprecedented sanctions against Russia on February 25 targeting state-controlled VTB Bank. Since then the UK has added a number of Russian oligarchs, high-ranking state company CEOs and state officials to the sanction list. Britain has also joined trade sanctions and luxury exports bans and pledged to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.

The latest UK sanctions continue to target Russian banks, now including state-controlled Gazprombank, one of Russia’s largest private banks Alfa Bank of Alfa Group of Mikhail Fridman. Among the 59 newly sanctioned Russian individuals and entities is also the founder of Tinkoff bank and TCS banking group Oleg Tinkov and the CEO of Russia’s largest state-controlled bank, German Gref.

TCS operates Russia's only pure online bank and pre-invasion investor darling Tinkoff Bank, with the group's capitalisation topping $20bn in London in 2021. The founder Oleg Tinkov is not the controlling shareholder of TCS, as he previously had to shield the group after the US government brought tax evasion charges against him.

German Gref is a prominent Russian economist and ex-economy minister and Kremlin economic advisor. After heading the largest state-controlled bank Sber (Sberbank) he has transformed the lender into a digital powerhouse with broad ecosystem ambitions.

The latest UK sanctions also include Russian uncut diamond monopoly and one of the world’s largest diamond miners Alrosa, maritime shipping major Sovcomflot, Russian Railways and defence company Kronshtadt, the main producer of Russian drones. The notorious Russian private military contractor Wagner Group is also included in the sanctions.

They were among 59 individuals and entities added to the sanctions list which has been used to target Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Eugene Shvidler, a billionaire businessman with close business links to oligarch Roman Abramovich previously sanctioned by the UK on March 10, is also added to the UK sanction list. His net worth is reported as an estimated GBP1.2bn.

Britain also targeted Polina Kovaleva, who it described as the stepdaughter of Russia's Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov. She reportedly owns a GBP4mn property in London.

"[Russia’s President Vladimir] Putin should be under no illusions – we are united with our allies and will keep tightening the screw on the Russian economy to help ensure he fails in Ukraine," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss commented. "There will be no let-up".

The EU and US are also expected to impose a fifth round of sanctions on Russia on the same day as the West tries to co-ordinate its sanctions on Russia for maximum effect. 

The European Union announced a fourth package of Russian sanctions on March 15 that were designed to “further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine”. The measures included: a ban on transactions with certain Russian State-owned enterprises; an import ban on steel products; a ban on new investment into the Russian energy sector; and an export ban on luxury goods amongst other things. The list of sanctioned oligarchs was also extended.