US sanctions Russian tycoons

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Billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven were hit by the latest expansion of anti-Russia penalties

The US government has extended its sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, adding four individuals and a business association to the list.

According to a document published on Friday by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the new restrictions affect billionaires Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven, German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev. In addition, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) has been targeted.

The four businessmen served on the supervisory board of the Alfa Group Consortium that runs Russia’s largest private lender, Alfa Bank, and were among the bank’s main major shareholders. Alfa Group, one of Russia’s biggest financial and investment conglomerates, was already under Western sanctions targeting Russia’s financial sector.

In March, reports emerged that Fridman and Aven were preparing to offload their stakes in Alfa Bank in order to avoid further penalties.

All four billionaires had been previously sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand and Britain. The latest measures against them will block access to their US properties and financial interests.

The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, established in 1990, operates as a non-governmental organisation promoting the interests of Russia’s business community.

According to the US authorities, the association, involved in the technology sector, has helped Moscow counteract other Ukraine-related sanctions.

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