Uzbekistan lobbies to lift EU sanctions on Russian oligarch Usmanov – FT

9 November 2022, 02:53 PM
Alisher Usmanov (Photo:Wikimedia)

Alisher Usmanov (Photo:Wikimedia)

Uzbek authorities are lobbying the European Union to lift sanctions on one of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's “favorite oligarchs” Alisher Usmanov, the Financial Times reported on Nov. 9, citing two people familiar with the discussions.

Tashkent is also lobbying the bloc to ease sanctions on Usmanov’s sister.

Usmanov was one of 26 Russians who fell under EU sanctions. Europe claims that Usmanov was one of the "favorite oligarchs" of the Russian president.

Usmanov's sister, Gulbakhor Ismailova, was also sanctioned on the grounds that she was the legal owner of some of the oligarch's assets, including the $600 million superyacht Dilbar.

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According to the newspaper's interlocutors, Tashkent used recent meetings between Uzbek and EU officials to express concerns about the sanctions.

Uzbekistan is also providing legal assistance to Usmanov in possible legal proceedings against Brussels if the bloc rejects requests to lift the restrictions.

Usmanov maintains close ties with Uzbekistan, where he was born. Tashkent argues that sanctions against him, including an asset freeze and travel ban, have limited the billionaire's ability to invest some of his wealth in the country.

Both Usmanov and his sister Ismailova have filed formal appeals against the European sanctions, along with more than a dozen other Russian oligarchs.

According to the FT, the lobbying comes as the European Union seeks to forge closer ties with Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries as the region reassesses its relationship with Moscow in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Any move to lift sanctions against Usmanov and Ismailova would require the unanimous support of all 27 EU members.

A day earlier, German police raided branches of a major Swiss bank linked to Russian oligarch Usmanov.

The searches included private client service units at the head office of UBS in Frankfurt am Main and a branch in Munich.

German police also confiscated paintings worth EUR 5 million from Usmanov’s yacht.

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