The British government has added two Cypriots to its sanctions list due to their professional connections with Russian oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Aliyev Ushmanov. Dimitris Ioannidis, a professional financial services provider, is accused of setting up “murky offshore structures” used by Abramovich to conceal assets worth over £760 million to avoid sanctions against him following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This includes a £90 million mansion in west London.
Christodoulos Vassiliadis, a lawyer, is believed to be “at the heart of a network of trusts and offshore companies” linked to Ushmanov, through which the Azeri-Russian businessman attempted to conceal ownership of the historic 16th-century English manor house, Sutton Place. The British government has frozen £18 billion of assets belonging to Russians and other businessmen linked to Putin.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverley stated that the UK is “tightening the noose around the Russian elite and those who are trying to help them hide their pro-war money. There is no place to hide.” The new sanctions also affect a number of companies in Ushmanov’s financial “network” in Britain and relatives of Russian officials.
The move is part of a broader crackdown on Russian financial ties, as Western governments aim to curb the country’s interference in foreign affairs and curb its aggression towards neighboring states. The UK has repeatedly condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea, support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, and alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the UK.
[Information from CNA]