The Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman has failed to get some relief from the strict sanctions that were imposed after a UK Court denied his request to access extra cash for paying for staff and upkeep of his mansion in north London.
The court agreed that the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation had determined the additional payments for the maintenance of the home were not “basic necessities” but allowed Fridman to “continue enjoying the lifestyle [he] had before being designated.”
London’s courts have been flooded with challenges to the UK sanctions regime, since the government imposed it on a number Russian billionaires and companies in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After a raid on Fridman’s home, the National Crime Agency in Britain dropped their investigation into Fridman’s alleged sanctions-evasion.
Fridman asked for a £30,000 monthly management fee, as well as payment for internal phone lines and audio and TV equipment as well as staff costs.
The judge stated that “OFSI was rational and acted within its discretion” in his ruling, published on Thursday. The government allowed the billionaire to pay around £1million for expenses already incurred and to cover Fridman’s “basic needs”, the government’s lawyers had stated during the Hearing.
Fridman purchased the property named Athlone House, in London’s Highgate for £65,000,000 ($78.6,000,000) , in 2016.
He is the founder of Alfa Group and its main shareholder. This group includes Russia’s biggest private bank. The European Union, the UK and Fridman’s partners imposed sanctions soon after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 20, 2022. In August, the US sanctioned Fridman while he lived in London.
The ruling was not immediately commented upon by a lawyer in London.
The billionaire who has both Israeli and Russian citizenship left London for Israel earlier this month , complaining that it was impossible to stay in the UK due to the sanctions regime. He flew from London to Israel, then to Moscow to avoid the Hamas attack on Israel.