17 May, 08:55 PM

$420 million of Russian oligarch’s Ukrainian assets frozen by court order

A Ukrainian court ordered the freeze of Cyprus-registered off-shore assets, belonging to Ukraine-born Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman – one of the co-founders of Alfa-Bank – the Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine (ESBU) said in a Telegram post on May 17.

Over UAH 12.4 billion ($420 million) worth in assets were frozen, including accounts of a Cyprus holding company that owns 40% of Alfa-Bank.

“The investigation established that the Russian oligarch (Fridman) and his business partners were using Cyprus-registered companies and their bank to launder assets of these companies, worth UAH 1.1 billion ($37 million), both before and during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the bureau’s mes-sage said.

According to law enforcement, Fridman and his partners were attempting to evade sanctions and save their assets from nationalization. ESBU said that a portion of their Ukrainian banking assets were effectively taken out of the country.

ESBU investigators also have grounds to suspect that the relationship between Fridman’s Cyprus-registered shell company and Alfa-Bank could be fraudulent, based on securities manipulation via a series of fictitious con-tracts.

Based on collected evidence, the court ordered a freeze on Fridman-related shell company assets.

Meanwhile, Alfa-Bank Ukraine said that one of the bank’s major shareholders – ABHU holding company, which owns 42.4% of Alfa-Bank – has had its accounts frozen.

ABHU’s assets were frozen by the National Securities Commission of Ukraine.

Alfa-Bank reassured its clients that these asset freezes will not impact them, since its shareholders don’t currently play a role in Alfa-Bank’s operations.

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