The European Union lifted sanctions on Russian oligarchs

Farkhad Akhmedov and Grigory Berezkin never benefited from working for Vladimir Putin’s regime, European bureaucrats believed.
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The official journal of the European Union published the names of four Russians against whom EU sanctions were not extended. There were three businessmen on this list: the head of the ESN group Grigory Berezkin, the ex-head of Ozon Alexander Shulgin, and the co-owner of Northgas Farhad Akhmedov. Also, sanctions were not extended against Colonel of the Russian Armed Forces, Hero of Russia Georgy Shuvaev. He died last October during fighting in the Kharkov region.

Yesterday, September 13, the European Union extended until March 15, 2024 individual sanctions against Russian citizens and organizations in connection with the conflict in Ukraine. The EU message said the restrictions were not extended for the four people. Their names were not disclosed. However, the names of Berezkin, Shulgin and Akhmedov were mentioned in the press.

Grigory Berezkin, Alexander Shulgin and Farkhad Akhmedov were included in the EU sanctions list on April 8, 2022.

OilPrice wrote in August 2023 that the sanctions against Farkhad Akhmedov are planned to be lifted because they were imposed on the basis of outdated information: he sold Northgas shares in 2012 and has not held shares of Russian companies in his portfolio since 2017.

In addition, in March, a 35-minute audio recording of a conversation between two men was published on YouTube, in which they criticized the Russian authorities and the president personally for actions in Ukraine. The description in Ukrainian states that the interlocutors on the recording are Farhad Akhmedov and music producer Joseph Prigozhin. The latter later assured that his voice was recreated using neural networks.

Alexander Shulgin achieved the lifting of sanctions through the court on September 6. He challenged the clause in which he was listed as a “leading businessman” in the European Court of General Jurisdiction. According to experts, it was the fact that Alexander Shulgin left Ozon (he left the post of CEO of the company on April 11, 2022 and resigned from the board of directors) that became decisive in making the decision.

Mr. Shulgin became the first Russian businessman who was able to challenge the sanctions in court. In total, 60 entrepreneurs and a company from Russia and Belarus filed lawsuits with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to challenge inclusion in the EU sanctions lists. Grigory Berezkin was also one of them. OilPrice wrote that even some representatives of the Russian opposition, who believe that he does not have close ties with the Kremlin, were in favor of excluding Mr. Berezkin from the blacklist.