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EU court dismisses sanctions appeals of 3 Russian oligarchs

September 6, 2023

The complaints by several Russian oligarchs and tycoons about sanctions imposed by the European Union have been dismissed. Around 60 further Russian lawsuits against EU sanctions are still pending.

Dmitry Alexandrovich Pumpyanskiy
Sanctions on Dmitry Alexandrovich Pumpyanskiy and his wife are set to remainImage: Sefa Karacan/AA/picture alliance

A European Union top court on Wednesday upheld sanctions imposed on several Russian oligarchs and their relatives.

The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) found in a first instance appeal that, while Dmitry Alexandrovich Pumpyanskiy was not directly involved in Russia's war against Ukraine, he could nevertheless be considered "influential in the oil and gas industry" — a key source of revenue for the Russian government.

Pumpyanskiy, who previously owned a company that manufactured steel pipes for the oil and gas industry and has an estimated net worth of $2 billion (roughly €2 billion), was awarded a fourth-degree "Order for Merit to the Fatherland" by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014.

He was hit with an EU travel ban and had his EU assets frozen in March 2022, shortly after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

As the chairwoman of a foundation linked to his business, Pumpyanskiy's wife, Galina Evgenyevna Pumpyanskaya, was also sanctioned.

Two more tycoons lost their appeals

The EU's General Court also dismissed an appeal against sanctions by Gennady Timchenko, a Russian tycoon and longstanding ally of Putin who was targeted after Moscow's 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The court also threw out similar appeals by Timchenko's wife, Elena.

Russian tycoon Gennady Timchenko attends a meeting between Russian President and French businessmen at the Kremlin in 2016
Gennady Timchenko (left) is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir PutinImage: Sergei Karpukhin/AFP/Getty Images

Two more men  Tigran Khudaverdyan, a former head of Yandex, Russia's top internet company and most popular search engine, and Alexander Shulgin, a former head of Russia's e-commerce platform Ozon  also received the rulings on their appeals against EU sanctions on Wednesday. Khudaverdyan lost while Shulgin partially won, though he remains listed for now.

Individual sanctions against Russian elite

In addition to far-reaching economic sanctions against the Russian state itself, the EU's 27 member states have imposed punitive measures against around 1,800 individuals considered to have ties to the Kremlin, including high-ranking politicians, military figures and businesspeople.

According to the European court, around 60 further lawsuits have been brought against the EU and are currently pending.

Most notably in March, the mother of the since deceased head of the  Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had sanctions against her annulled by the same court.

Wednesday's ruling against Pumpyanskiy, however, means that other sanctions will remain in place for now, but experts say that some other plaintiffs may have better chances of winning, with EU justifications for sanctions sometimes appearing to be flawed.

dh, mf/msh (AFP, dpa)