Russian Oligarchs

Powerful Russian Oligarch Andrey Melnichenko Appeals Against Canadian Sanctions 2024

Andrey Melnichenko Sanctions By Canada

A Russian Oligarch Andrey Melnichenko, whose legal efforts led to the removal of his wife from Canada’s sanctions list, continues to petition Ottawa for his own removal from the list.

Oligarch Andrey Melnichenko Sanctions By Canada

Nearly a year after Oligarch Andrey Melnichenko and his wife Aleksandra were sanctioned by Canada, he initiated an appeal in the Federal Court in March 2023, followed by another appeal in February of the current year. The previous appeal succeeded in having his wife’s name removed from the Canadian sanctions list in November.

Canada, along with other Western nations, imposed sanctions on numerous individuals and entities in Russia and allied Belarus following Moscow’s assault on Ukraine in February 2022. When Ottawa imposed sanctions on Mr. Melnichenko and his wife, they were part of a group of over 100 individuals targeted, described by Ottawa as “parliamentarians and officials, their family members, the oligarchs, and the businesses that fund them,” purportedly aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to Global Affairs spokesman John Babcock, Aleksandra Melnichenko’s removal from Canada’s sanctions list was confirmed, with individuals designated having the option to apply to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for delisting, provided they furnish detailed justifications supporting their request.

Mr. Melnichenko’s 2024 appeal for judicial review states that he was informed by the Department of Global Affairs that he was listed due to “reasonable grounds to believe he was an associate of President Putin or the government of Russia.” The department cited his past ownership of fertilizer producer EuroChem and Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK), his board membership in the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), and his attendance at a meeting with Putin and RSPP members following the commencement of the 2022 Ukraine assault as reasons for his listing.

Despite sanctions imposed on Mr. Melnichenko by various jurisdictions, including the US, EU, and UK, his legal counsel in Canada has yet to respond to inquiries.

Being included on Canada’s Russia-related sanctions list results in freezing any assets held by the designated individual in Canada, while Canadian residents and citizens outside the country are barred from providing financial services or engaging in transactions with sanctioned entities.

Legal expert John Boscariol noted that individuals sanctioned in Canada may face asset seizure and liquidation by the federal government, with the proceeds earmarked for Ukraine. Sanctioned persons are also prohibited from entering Canada.

Mr. Melnichenko, who claims to have ceased residing in Russia over a decade ago and has been domiciled in Switzerland with his family for 15 years, contends that Global Affairs disregarded evidence he presented to refute its portrayal of him.

He argues that he amassed his wealth independently of the Russian state and, therefore, does not fit the definition of an “oligarch.” Mr. Melnichenko asserts he relinquished ownership of EuroChem and SUEK in 2006, denies any personal ties to Putin or the Russian government, and disavows belonging to Putin’s inner circle.

Despite presenting evidence of support from Western experts and Russian opposition figures against the sanctions, Mr. Melnichenko’s application for reconsideration was reportedly denied by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly.

Ranked No. 74 on Forbes’s Real-time Billionaires list with an estimated net worth of US$25 billion as of Friday, Mr. Melnichenko had his superyacht seized by Italian authorities in 2022 due to EU sanctions.

Senior fellow Benjamin Schmitt, expressing skepticism about Mr. Melnichenko’s chances of delisting, cited his inclusion in primary sanctions packages targeting Russian elites worldwide. He suggested that Western sanctions officials might find it difficult to accept Mr. Melnichenko’s claims of non-association with the Kremlin, given his prominent status in Russia’s business elite and close ties to Putin. Schmitt concluded that considering Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine and other Western democracies, Canada is unlikely to grant Mr. Melnichenko’s sanctions removal request anytime soon.

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