Two more Russians added to UK sanctions list including Everton-linked billionaire Alisher Usmanov
Two more Russians with links to the UK, including billionaire Alisher Usmanov, have been added to the list of those being sanctioned following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
Usmanov, whose commercial links to Everton football club have been suspended, along with former Russian deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov, have both been sanctioned by foreign secretary, Liz Truss.
It comes after Boris Johnson was put under increasing pressure to speed up the process of targeting Russian oligarchs and seizing their assets in Britain, after it was conceded it could take “weeks and months” to build legally-sound cases.
Senior Tories had called for the immediate seizure of oligarchs’ assets in the UK, such as luxury yachts and property, and the return of them to the Russian people “as soon as possible”.
Questions continued over why billionaires such as Roman Abramovich, who has announced he will sell Chelsea FC, have not been hit with sanctions.
Visiting Lithuania to show support to Nato allies earlier on Thursday, Ms Truss acknowledged in an interview that the government must “make sure we have the right evidence to put in place those sanctions”.
But she added: “I’m very clear that legal threats will have no impact on our ability to sanction oligarchs and we will continue to work through our list, we will continue to sanction oligarchs and there is nowhere for any of Putin’s cronies to hide.”
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Downing Street sought to downplay the issue, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman insisting: “We are not being held back from introducing sanctions.”
But he said “we do have laws that we need to abide by” when applying the economic restrictions.
“When it comes to individuals it is the case that we need to do the preparatory work, the requisite work, to make sure it is legally sound before introduction,” the spokesman added.
“Like I said, we will keep that under review and if there are ways to further speed it up then we will.”
He also sought to argue that sanctions on the banks funding the Russian president’s military machine will exert more pressure than going after his wealthy allies.
“Our judgment is placing sanctions particularly on large banks and companies … that is what we believe will exert the most pressure on Putin’s regime and will throttle off funding for this illegal war against Ukraine,” he said.