A Russian billionaire who was hit with sanctions by the European Union was locked out of his investment firm and ignored by staff members, according to Business Insider.
Russian billionaire and the co-founder of LetterOne, a London-based investment firm, Mikhail Fridman stepped down from the company’s board and will no longer have any dealings with the group, the company said. Russian banker, Petr Aven who along with Fridman own about 50% of the company’s shares stepped down as well.
Fridman was one of the oligarchs sanctioned by the European Union in response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The EU said Fridman “actively supported materially or financially and benefited from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine. He also supported policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”
Both Fridman and Aven’s “assets in the business are effectively frozen, they have no rights as shareholders and – if sanctions are lifted – the board is under no obligation to return these rights,” LetterOne’s Chairman Mervyn Davies said in the statement.
Davies told Financial Times that Fridman is locked out of his offices and is not allowed to have access to any documents. Employees are also not allowed to speak to him.
“I believe these steps are the right ones in light of the shocking and deeply saddening invasion of Ukraine,” Davies said. “It is a war that Russia must stop.”
Fridman was the first oligarch to speak out against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I do not make political statements, I am a businessman with responsibilities to my many thousands of employees in Russia and Ukraine,” Fridman said in a letter to employees. “I am convinced however that war can never be the answer. This crisis will cost lives and damage two nations who have been brothers for hundreds of years.”