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UK tells sanctioned Russian billionaire to ‘use public transport’ – Bloomberg

London has reportedly banned Mikhail Fridman from paying a staff driver

The UK has refused to allow sanctioned Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman to pay for a personal driver, arguing that he is able to take public transport, lawyers for the businessman have said, according to Bloomberg. Fridman is fighting for the right to pay for the upkeep of his London mansion and to make payments to his staff. 

According to lawyer Rachel Barnes, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has refused to allow Fridman to make monthly payments of £30,000 ($36,500) to cover the operating costs of Athlone House, a Victorian mansion in north London that the businessman bought in 2015, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.


Government lawyer Malcolm Birdling claimed that the staff payments were rejected because it could allow Fridman “to enjoy his pre-designation lifestyle,” according to the news agency. 

Fridman is the founder of Russia’s biggest privately owned lender, Alfa Bank. He was sanctioned by the UK, the EU, and Canada in 2022, and by the US earlier this year.   


READ MORE: Ukraine seizes assets worth $463 million from tycoons

The billionaire businessman holds Russian and Israeli citizenship, and had lived in London until this month. Fridman moved to Israel in early October, describing life in Britain under sanctions as “impossible.”

He arrived in Israel just a few days before Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a major attack on the country from Gaza. Fridman subsequently fled to Moscow, telling Bloomberg that he planned to “return to Israel and live there permanently” once the situation has calmed down.


October 18, 2023 at 04:18PM

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