11 Oct 2022

NZ-linked Russian Oligarch Alexander Abramov and family hit by tailored sanctions from government

1:31 pm on 11 October 2022
6481334 06.03.2021 Chairman of the Board of Directors of Evraz Group Alexander Abramov attends a meeting on the socio-economic development of the Kemerovo region -

Photo: AFP

The government has imposed tailored sanctions on New Zealand-linked Russian Oligarch Alexander Abramov.

He and his family members will be subject to a travel ban, and their aircraft and vessels will be banned from entering New Zealand airspace and ports.

This latest series of sanctions affects 51 oligarchs and 24 Russian-backed office holders in annexed areas of Ukraine.

It also extends a 35 percent tariff on Russian imports which had been due to expire next month until 2025, and bans on trade of luxury goods like New Zealand wine and seafood, Russian vodka and caviar, and products like oil, gas and related production equipment.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta and Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor said the additional sanctions were a "tangible way to express Aotearoa New Zealand's condemnation of Russia's invasion and its recent attempts to illegally annex regions of Ukraine".

Mahuta said the sanctions on Abramov had been "tailored". Abramov does not live in New Zealand and only has a small proportion of his wealth here.

He and his family would be subject to a travel ban, but his assets would not be affected. The Evraz plc steel company he founded, and remains the second-largest shareholder of, which produces more than 25 percent of all Russian railway wheels and almost all of Russia's rail lines, was also sanctioned.

Mahuta said if full sanctions were applied, the disruption felt by New Zealanders would likely be greater than that felt by Abramov.

"The intention of our sanctions is to exert pressure on Russia, not punish innocent New Zealanders. We hope that the considered actions we are taking will encourage Mr Abramov to voice concerns about Russia's war on Ukraine," Mahuta said.

"Although I am advised that his representatives in New Zealand insist he has not played a role in the invasion and has not lived in Russia since 2016, as a leading businessman with links to Russia's political and economic elites I expect he has the influence to speak up and be heard."

Mahuta said she sought extensive advice and factored in Abramov's connections to the local economy before sanctioning him.

The additions bring New Zealand's sanctions against individuals and entities to more than 1000.

More to come...

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