Receive free War in Ukraine updates
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest War in Ukraine news every morning.
The US on Friday imposed sanctions on four Russian businessmen connected to the country’s largest private bank, stepping up a western campaign to punish Moscow’s elite for the invasion of Ukraine.
The US targeted Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev, who are all connected to Alfa-Bank. The men already face sanctions from the UK and EU.
“Wealthy Russian elites should disabuse themselves of the notion that they can operate business as usual while the Kremlin wages war against the Ukrainian people,” said deputy Treasury secretary Wally Adeyemo.
“Our international coalition will continue to hold accountable those enabling the unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”
The US and UK placed punitive measures on Alfa-Bank last year after Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, while the EU introduced its measures earlier this year.
Fridman and Aven declined to comment. They have challenged the EU sanctions in court and engaged in a variety of strategies, such as collecting character references and seeking to offload their stakes of Alfa-Bank, to have sanctions lifted.
Fridman has also promised Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy support in exchange for a good word with the west over the sanctions, but that has failed too.
Fridman, who grew up in Ukraine, made his fortune in Russia and moved to London in 2015, has long disputed claims he is close to the Kremlin. He and Aven own 45 per cent of Alfa-Bank between them via a Luxembourg-based holding company which in turn controls the bank’s Cypriot parent company.
The US also imposed sanctions on a Russian business association that the Treasury described as being involved as part of Moscow’s efforts to respond to sanctions and replace imports with domestic production.
Under the sanctions, the Russian businessmen will be unable to travel to the US or do business with American banks. Doing so had already become challenging because of the numerous European and British actions they are subject to.
The four are also subject to sanctions from Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Additional reporting contributed by Max Seddon in Riga