Oleg Deripaska (his En + controls 48.13% of UC Rusal), Renova’s owner Viktor Vekselberg and VTB State Bank President Andrei Kostin are “virtually denied” participation in the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in Davos, which will be held in late January 2019 ., reported the Financial Times, citing two people familiar with the decision of the organizers. There are no legal restrictions for the arrival of businessmen and a banker who regularly attend the summit, the FT notes, but the United States imposed personal sanctions against them and the situation with the WEF shows that international organizations are increasingly careful in dealing with such people. The Russians were informed that they are not expected at the summit, this is the result of pressure from Washington, said the FT, who knows about the decision of the organizers.
Such a decision undermines the efforts of the organizers who tried to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to come to Davos. A Kremlin spokesman told the publication that Putin will not be present again at the forum, although he is invited "every year."
The directorate for work with corporate participants of the VEF Vedomosti refused to comment on the situation with three Russians. Regarding the invitation of Russian officials, according to a representative of the Directorate, the WEF invites government leaders and key ministers of all G20 countries. Negotiations with the invitees are conducted several months before the summit, but coordination may continue until the last days. The composition of the Russian delegation has not yet been discussed in the government, a federal official knows. The representative of the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev could not comment on the issue on Tuesday evening.
“Mr. Kostin had a conversation with Mr. [Klaus] Schwab [the founder and chairman of the WEF], and he is aware of this decision. He will state his position on this issue in the form of an open letter to the forum participants, ”said the representative of VTB. The representative of Vekselberg said only that he has been participating in the forums in Davos for the past 20 years. The representative of Deripaska did not respond to the request, and a person close to the businessman told TASS that he was not going to Davos: “He left the business, participation in the forum does not make sense”.
The basic element of Deripaska and VTB were strategic partners of Davos-2017, and the two Renova structures were partners. At official rates, it cost each of the three 600,000 francs.
Forum organizers are afraid to fall under the secondary sanctions of the United States if they accept payment for participation in the forum from people on the sanction lists, says a lawyer working with one of the three exiles, regarding these fears as unnecessary. In April, the United States imposed sanctions on a number of Russian companies and people, including Deripaska, Vekselberg and their companies. US residents are prohibited from doing business with them, and the rest are at risk of being sanctioned if they cooperate with people from the list.
There are no sanction risks here, and the benefits that Russians under sanctions could receive from participating in the forum cannot be considered significant, says a partner of an international law firm specializing in sanctions. “But among the forum partners who pay membership dues, there are a lot of American companies, and theoretically they could start asking questions about whether their payments, which go to the benefit of all forum participants, including Russians under sanctions, are not used. And when sponsors ask questions, the organizers can get nervous, ”he argues. In addition, representatives of the US Treasury may attend the summit, and they could not threaten the sanctions of the Swiss organization, but a lawyer suggests that they do not want to participate in it along with those against whom they imposed sanctions.