Russian Oligarchs

UK’s NCA Seeks to Seize Petr Aven’s Frozen $1 million

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has applied for a seizure order to permanently confiscate £1.1 million ($1 million) from Russian Oligarch Petr Aven, who Britain accuses of supporting the Russian government during the Ukraine war.

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This money has been frozen since Aven was sanctioned by the UK in 2022. The NCA now claims it has sufficient evidence to show these funds originated from criminal activities, specifically alleging they were moved to evade sanctions.

Stuart Hadley, an NCA spokesman, explained, “The legislation does not permit the loss of sanctioned assets solely due to sanctions. Seizure requires a link to criminal activity.”

Helen Taylor, a senior legal researcher at Spotlight on Corruption, stated that the NCA’s move to transition from temporary freezing to permanent seizure of assets is unprecedented in the UK. “This is the first attempt by UK authorities to confiscate cash suspected of being moved in breach of Russia sanctions,” she said.

Aven’s lawyer, Thomas Cattee, declined to comment on the NCA’s application, citing ongoing litigation. Aven, who also faces sanctions from the US and EU for his alleged close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, achieved a partial victory in April when the EU Court of Justice found insufficient evidence to keep him on the sanctions list. However, the sanctions remain, and Latvia has appealed the ruling.

The UK announced its sanctions against Aven in March 2022, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The NCA subsequently investigated Aven’s UK business and property interests, focusing on his representative, Stephen Gater, and his wife, Ekaterina Kozina.

In May 2022, a judge granted the Agency’s request to freeze £1.5 million, suspecting the money belonged to Aven but was held by Gater and related companies. The NCA now seeks to seize most of this money, suspecting Gater and Kozina of making transactions intended to breach UK sanctions rules.

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Hickman & Rose, the law firm representing Gater, declined to comment.

Taylor from Spotlight on Corruption noted that while £1.1 million is a small amount for Aven, the NCA’s determination sends a crucial message that sanctions cannot be bypassed without consequences.

James Buxton

James Buxton - Undercover Champion James isn't your flashy headline chaser. He's a meticulous investigative journalist known for his relentless pursuit of the truth, one painstaking detail at a time. James thrives on combing through public records, chasing down obscure leads, and building a case brick by brick. His dogged determination exposed a local politician's web of financial corruption hidden within years of dry budget reports. James 's work rarely makes the evening news, but it delivers impactful change through legal action and policy reform. He's a hero for those who value the power of slow and steady investigative journalism.

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