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EU court rejects Abramovich sanctions challenge
Pic: Court of Justice of the European Union

20 Dec 2023 / cjeu Print

EU court rejects Abramovich sanctions challenge

The EU’s General Court has rejected a challenge from businessman Roman Abramovich to his inclusion on a list of individuals subject to EU sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich, the former owner of English Premier League football club Chelsea, is the majority shareholder in the parent company Evraz, one of the leading Russian groups in the steel and mining sector.

After Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February 2022, the EU Council took measures against business people involved in activities that provide a substantial source of revenue to the Russian Government.

It froze the funds of those on the list, and prohibited their entry into or transit through the EU.

Evraz role

Abramovich had challenged the inclusion and maintenance of his name on the lists of persons and entities subject to those measures. He had also sought compensation of around €1 million due to harm to his reputation.

In its judgment today (20 December), however, the court dismissed his action and upheld the restrictive measures taken against him.

“The Council did not, in fact, err in its assessment by deciding to include then maintain Mr Abramovich’s name on the lists at issue, in the light of his role in the Evraz group and, in particular, its parent company,” the judges stated.

‘Essential needs’

They also rejected the argument that the measures constituted an unjustified and disproportionate infringement of Abramovich’s fundamental rights.

“The General Court recalls, in particular, that EU law provides for the possibility of authorising the use of frozen funds in order to meet essential needs, and of granting specific permissions allowing funds or other economic resources to be released,” the judgment said.

Abramovich had argued that the actions infringed his right – as he is also a Portuguese national – to move freely within the EU. The court also rejected this argument as “unfounded”.

The court also dismissed Abramovich’s compensation claim.

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