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Oligarch Says Sanctions Are Useless As He Has No Sway Over Putin

Oligarch Says Sanctions Are Useless As He Has No Sway Over Putin

The founder of the largest private bank in Russia says he has no influence over President Vladimir Putin

A Russian oligarch has said sanctions put in place by him from the UK and EU following the invasion of Ukraine are ineffective as he’s not in any position to have an impact on Vladimir Putin's decisions. 

Mikhail Fridman is the founder of Alfa Bank, the largest private bank in Russia and is worth an estimated $10.1 billion (£7.7bn).

He is one of more than 1,000 Russian individuals and entities who the UK Government has announced sanctions against since Ukraine was invaded.

Mikhail Fridman.

Announcing Fridman as one of the newly sanctioned oligarchs last earlier this week, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: 'We are going further and faster than ever in hitting those closest to Putin – from major oligarchs, to his Prime Minister, and the propagandists who peddle his lies and disinformation.

'We are holding them to account for their complicity in Russia’s crimes in Ukraine.

'Working closely with our allies, we will keep increasing the pressure on Putin and cut off funding for the Russian war machine.'

Prior to the UK’s announcement Fridman had already been sanctioned by the European Union. 

However, Fridman has now given an interview in which he said the sanctions imposed on him will do little to help end the war as he isn’t in a position to influence President Putin. 

Mikhail Fridman shakes hands with Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Fridman said: 'I’ve never been in any state company or state position.

'If the people who are in charge in the EU believe that because of sanctions, I could approach Mr Putin and tell him to stop the war, and it will work, then I’m afraid we’re all in big trouble. 

'That means those who are making this decision understand nothing about how Russia works. And that’s dangerous for the future.'

He said he has never met Putin one-on-one, but admits he has met him in groups of business leaders.

Vladimir Putin (Alamy)
Vladimir Putin (Alamy)

Fridman said the UK sanctions meant he lost access to his last working bank card in the UK and must apply for a licence to spend money, and the government will then decide if the amount requested is ‘reasonable’ or not.

However, despite Fridman’s complaints, Adam Smith, a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and a former senior US Department of the Treasury official who has previously advised on sanctions, explained to the publication that sanctions are an ‘indirect approach’ - designed to prompt the under-pressure oligarchs to put pressure on Putin. 

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