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Sanctioned Oligarch Says His Card Is Blocked And He Can't Access His Bank Accounts

Sanctioned Oligarch Says His Card Is Blocked And He Can't Access His Bank Accounts

Mikhail Fridman has been restricted by the sanctions imposed by the UK and the EU

A Russian oligarch has claimed he can't access his 'sizeable amount of money' due to sanctions imposed by Western leaders.

The United States, United Kingdom and European Union all took action after Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine, hoping to bring the conflict to an end by imposing sanctions against both businesses and individuals.

Mikhail Fridman is among those who have been hit by sanctions imposed by both the UK and the EU, causing him to have his shares in investment firm LetterOne frozen.

Mikhail Fridman has been restricted by UK and EU sanctions.

Speaking with CBS News in the wake of the restrictions, Fridman claimed he learned about being sanctioned 'from TV'. The billionaire made his money through banking and retail and now lives in London, where he claims he is restricted from accessing his money and using ATMs.

"My card is blocked, you know, so I could not get any money; all my accounts are blocked," he said.

Interviewer Seth Doane expressed disbelief someone with such vasts amounts of money would not be able to access it, saying: "I wouldn't expect you to tell me on camera, but I would think that a billionaire must have access to money, somewhere?"

"No, no," Fridman replied.

Doane pushed Fridman on the matter, but the billionaire pointed out his lack of access to money was 'why [he was] here'.

"That's why I'm here, because I would like to explain: sanction against us [is] unfair, useless. For what? What did we do wrongly, except for doing business in Russia?," he said.

Vladimir Putin.

The billionaire went on to stress the 'power distance between Mr. Putin and everybody around him is huge', explaining he didn't have 'any channels' to deliver messages to the Russian president even if he wanted to.

He described the belief that billionaires must be close to the Kremlin as a 'very typical and inappropriate myth', adding: "Majority of Russian private businesspeople do not have any personal ties with Mr. Putin."

Tom Burgis, author of Kleptopia: How Dirty Money Is Conquering the World, admitted to CBS 'dirty money' is a hard thing to define, but suggested the argument could be made that 'anyone who has made and retained an enormous fortune in a dictatorship we know to be profoundly corrupt, then that person is to some greater or lesser extent complicit in that regime's power.'

In a bid to prove he made his money through legitimate sources, Fridman supplied the publication with an audit he had commissioned. The billionaire also said he is 'against the war', but did not criticise Putin as he noted Russia is 'not very tolerant with regards to that'.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Vladimir Putin, Russia, Ukraine, Politics