Russian bank, gas, metal execs on US ‘oligarch list’
MOSCOW – Reuters
The U.S. Treasury Department named yesterday major Russian businessmen including the heads of the two biggest banks, metals magnates and the boss of the state gas monopoly on a list of oligarchs close to the Kremlin.
The list, drawn up as part of a sanctions package signed into law in August last year, does not mean those included will be subject to sanctions, but it casts a potential shadow of sanctions risk over a wide circle of wealthy Russians.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle is already subject to personal U.S. sanctions, imposed over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s’ Crimea region.
But the so-called “oligarchs’ list” that was released on Tuesday, prompted in part by Washington’s belief the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, covers many people beyond Putin’s circle and reaches deep into Russia’s business elite.
After the release of the report, the ruble opened down 0.1 percent against the dollar, whiles shares in some of Russia’s biggest companies fell too.
Among the biggest fallers was Norilsk Nickel, down 1.2 percent. Its co-owner Vladimir Potanin was included on the U.S. list. Rusal, the world’s second biggest producer of aluminium, whose co-owner Oleg Deripaska was also on the list, saw its shares tumble 1.4 percent.
The Treasury Department, in a statement accompanying the list, said people had been included on the list based on their net worth and “their closeness to the Russian regime.”
It said inclusion does not denote that people on the list are subject to sanctions or any other restrictions, that they meet the criteria for being put under sanctions, or that they are involved in any malign activity.
Among the businessmen on the list are German Gref, CEO of state-controlled Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, and Andrey Kostin, chief executive of the second-biggest lender, VTB, which is also controlled by the Russian state.
Alexei Miller, CEO of state-controlled gas export monopoly Gazprom, was also on the list.
Alexei Mordashov, co-owner of Severstal, one of Russia’s largest steel producers, and Leonid Mikhelson, co-owner of private gas producer Novatek, were included too.
Metals magnate Alisher Usmanov, who is part owner of London’s Arsenal club, and Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of the Moscow-based cyber security company that carries his name, were included on the same list.