The High Court in London rejected the claim of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, who is under British sanctions, reports Reuters. He demanded that the British authorities allow him to spend an additional 30 thousand pounds sterling ($35 thousand) a month on maintaining a mansion in north London.
The defendant in Mr. Friedman's lawsuit was the British Financial Sanctions Enforcement Agency (OFSI). All the businessman’s funds were frozen after being included in the British sanctions list and he has to ask the authorities for official permission to spend any amount from his accounts. Mikhail Fridman went to court after OFSI refused to issue him additional licenses to pay for his expenses associated with managing the London mansion Athlone House.
Among the expenses for which the entrepreneur sought permission were 30 thousand pounds sterling ($36.4 thousand) per month for the maintenance of the house, 1.8 thousand pounds (about $2.2 thousand) to pay for telephone communications, audio and television equipment, heating and light, notes Reuters. Lawyers argued that Athlone House is a “unique property with unique needs,” not least due to its “art collection,” Reuters clarifies.
The Office of Financial Sanctions refused to release Mikhail Fridman's funds for maintenance of the mansion. The department also refused to allocate money for personnel, including the driver, since the billionaire is “able to use public transport.” Judge Pushpinder Saini of the High Court of London, having considered the businessman's claim, recognized the authorities' decision as legal and justified.
The UK added Mikhail Fridman to the sanctions list in March 2022. On October 9, it became known that Mr. Friedman left the UK and decided to move permanently to Israel. However, due to the war between Israel and the Hamas movement, the businessman decided to temporarily stop in Moscow.
According to Mikhail Fridman himself, his life in the UK has become “impossible” due to sanctions. After this, a member of the Federation Council from the Zaporozhye region, Dmitry Rogozin, asked the Investigative Committee of Russia to check information about the possible financing of the armed forces of Ukraine by Mr. Fridman.