NCA Drops Investigation into Russian Oligarch Fridman After Unlawful Raid
The National Crime Agency (NCA) in Britain announced the conclusion of its lengthy investigation into sanctioned Russian oligarch Fridman. This decision comes approximately ten months after the NCA conducted a raid at his residence in London.
UK Police Investigation Closed with No Further Action
In a brief statement, the National Crime Agency confirmed that it would not pursue any further action against Mikhail Fridman concerning the warrant executed at Athlone House in December 2022. However, the agency emphasized that ongoing inquiries were being carried out concerning associated suspects as part of a broader investigation into serious and organized crime.
Unlawful Raid and Dropped Charges
The Times newspaper reported that the NCA admitted to the unlawfulness of its raid on Fridman’s home and subsequently dropped charges related to conspiring to circumvent UK Drops Sanctions, money laundering, fraud, and perjury. Additionally, it was revealed that the NCA would be liable for damages related to trespass, coverage of Fridman’s legal expenses, and the return of seized funds.
Legal Challenge and False Allegations
In July, the Russian-Israeli businessman successfully secured the right to challenge the morning raid on his residence in the High Court. His legal team argued that the warrant had been based on false allegations from a 2012 Wikileaks document, which had since been debunked.
Mikhail Fridman’s Background and Sanctions
Mikhail Fridman, originally from Ukraine, amassed his wealth through ventures in the oil, banking, and telecom industries. He co-founded Russia’s largest non-state bank in 1991. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both the UK and the European Union imposed sanctions on Fridman. As a result, his accounts were frozen, and he publicly expressed financial difficulties, even stating that he couldn’t afford a cleaner. Despite his prompt condemnation of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, Western sanctions against him remain in place. Currently, Fridman is actively challenging these sanctions imposed by both London and Brussels. His estimated net worth exceeds £8 billion.