Jewish oligarch fails in bid to overturn sanctions

Eugene Shvidler is a Russian businessman with links to Roman Abramovich


G8WWE5 Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Chelsea v Aston Villa - Stamford Bridge. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich with Eugene Shvidler

A Jewish Russian billionaire has failed in his bid to overturn sanctions imposed on him after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Eugene Shvidler, a longtime associate of Roman Abramovich, took a claim to the High Court to try and reverse sanctions he said were "extreme and far-reaching."

The judge dismissed his bid on Friday saying: “In my view, it cannot properly be said that the secretary of state has failed to strike a fair balance between the rights of Mr Shvidler and his family and the interests of the community.

“Whilst the effects of designation are serious, and the claimant and his family have been subjected to enormous inconvenience and no little financial loss, they do not threaten his life or liberty."

Lawyers for Shvidler argued that his family was undergoing extreme hardship and had to relocate to the USA where he is not sanctioned.

In addition, the oligarch said that he has been unable to maintain his private yacht and his two private jets have also been grounded.

One of Shvidler's lawyers, Michael O’Kane said: “Mr Shvidler is a British national. He has never been a citizen of Russia, has not visited Russia for more than 15 years and has been critical of the Russian government’s actions in Ukraine. He was sanctioned by the UK for being a friend of Roman Abramovich and a director of a FTSE 100 company.

"As a UK citizen, UK sanctions have frozen his entire worldwide assets for an indeterminable period. The impact of this on him and his family is extreme and far-reaching.

“He remains at a loss to know what else he can do to be de-listed, given the absence of UK government engagement, policy or guidance. If this judgment stands, it will make it virtually impossible for any person sanctioned by the foreign secretary to bring a successful court challenge.”

Shvidler is a major donor to Jewish causes and is believed to be the primary donor for the Edgware Jewish Primary School rebuild which took place in 2011 after which the school changed its name to Beit Shvidler Primary School.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office, who was defending the sanctions in court, said: “Today FCDO has won comprehensively against a court challenge brought by Eugene Shvidler on his sanctions designation. We welcome this judgment and the message it sends about the strength of the UK sanctions regime.”

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