Receive free FCO updates

Oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler filed a lawsuit in the High Court on Friday seeking to overturn sanctions imposed by Britain on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, but lost.

The billionaire businessman was first blacklisted in March 2022. He remains sanctioned because of his links to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and his previous role as a non-executive director of Evraz, a UK-incorporated multinational steel manufacturing and mining company with operations in Russia.

Schwiedler has initiated judicial review proceedings to revoke the designation, claiming the British government’s decision to sanction him was unlawful. However, his case was dismissed by the High Court in London.

The verdict was seen by Whitehall officials as a landmark victory for the government as the first substantive legal challenge to sanctions imposed on Britain following the Russian invasion.

Schwiedler was born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States as a stateless refugee in 1989, holding dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States. The UK government estimated his net worth at £1.2bn when it imposed sanctions on him.

Lawyers for the 59-year-old argued that the sanctions had affected him and his family “clearly disproportionate” and that Britain was trying to use him as “the poster child for Russian sanctions”.

At the time of the appointment, then-Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps grounded two private jets owned by Schwiedler. To that end, Shapps said he has introduced new legislation aimed at “depriving oligarchs of access to luxury toys”.

After Schwiedler was blacklisted, elite private school Marlborough Academy did not allow his daughter to return for the remainder of the academic year and Harrow revoked his son’s place, the court heard.

Government lawyers argued that the decision to impose sanctions was neither disproportionate nor discriminatory, and asked the court to dismiss the case.

In Friday’s judgment, Judge Neil Garnham dismissed Schwiedler’s challenge, ruling: “It does not seem to me proper to say that the Secretary of State (James Cleverley) has failed in Mr Schwiedler’s rights and A fair balance between his rights.” The interest of the family and society. “

The businessman’s lawyers also argued that while he had a “longstanding personal and business relationship” with former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, who was also sanctioned by the UK, Schwiedler did not benefit financially or materially from him .

However, Garnum found that Cleverley had “reasonable grounds” to suspect that Schwiedler had received substantial financial benefits from Abramovich, and said Schwiedler’s basis for designation was “well founded”.

Garnham concluded that this designation was “an area in which the Court must defer to the judgment of the Secretary of State,” adding: “The relative benefits, disadvantages, and effectiveness of different measures taken to achieve foreign policy objectives are not a matter of consideration ’” The court can criticize the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the fact. “

He said the government’s analysis was “not self-evidently irrational or beyond the bounds of a reasonable response”.

The UK Foreign Office welcomed the verdict, adding: “These sanctions have been carefully chosen to affect Putin’s ability to fund his wars, cripple supply chains and technological progress, and target those who support Putin and its regime.”

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the UK has added more than 1,600 people and entities to the list. Last month, Britain lifted sanctions against Russian-born tycoon Oleg Tinkov, the billionaire most vocal critic of the invasion.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *