Sanctioned Russian oligarch threatens legal action over Luxembourg’s €14.3 billion assets freeze — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Sanctioned Russian oligarch threatens legal action over Luxembourg’s €14.3 billion assets freeze

Russian businessman, co-founder of Alfa-Group Mikhail Fridman attends a conference of the Israeli Keren Hayesod foundation in Moscow, Russia, 17 September 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/PAVEL GOLOVKIN/POOL

Russian businessman, co-founder of Alfa-Group Mikhail Fridman attends a conference of the Israeli Keren Hayesod foundation in Moscow, Russia, 17 September 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/PAVEL GOLOVKIN/POOL

Russian billionaire and Alfa Group co-founder Mikhail Fridman is challenging the Luxembourg government’s freeze on €14.3 billion of his assets and plans to take his case to international arbitration, Russian state-affiliated business daily Vedomosti reported on Tuesday.

Two sources told Vedmosti that the Russian billionaire, whose net worth is estimated to exceed €12 billion, intends to initiate legal action after the authorities in Luxembourg failed to respond to requests to unfreeze Fridman’s assets submitted by his representatives in February.

According to Vedomosti, Fridman considers his assets, which were frozen following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, to have been “expropriated” and is demanding compensation from the grand duchy.

The Luxembourg authorities have six months to respond to his claim, after which Fridman will be entitled to take his claim to the UN Commission on International Trade Law or the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, an institution for international arbitration.

The move comes a month after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) lifted sanctions on Fridman and his fellow Alfa Group co-founder Petr Aven, after finding that they had been imposed despite insufficient evidence being produced to support the assertion that they were supporters of Moscow’s policies in Ukraine.

However, as the sanctions Fridman and Aven originally appealed to the CJEU against expired during the court case and were superseded by new ones, the pair remain under sanction and must now relaunch their legal challenge against the newer measures.

Fridman and Aven, both of whom have left the Alfa Group board of directors and have lived abroad since March 2022, have long denied claims that they are close to Vladimir Putin.

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