Russians flock to EU court to overthrow sanctions

Russians flock to EU court to overthrow sanctions


4 minutes

17:42 today

The EU Legal Center in Luxembourg is making long-term bids to relieve the pain caused by the Russian invasion.

The EU Legal Center in Luxembourg is making long-term bids to relieve the pain caused by the Russian invasion.

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Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman

Photo provider: Photo: AFP

Russian billionaires, who have been hit by European Union sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, are flocking to a court in the block of Luxembourg to try to escape from the EU’s rich target list.

History shows that their perpetual success is unlikely.

Approximately 20 appeals have already been filed by some of Russia’s wealthiest tycoons or their families since the EU began imposing retaliation measures in February.

They included Dmitry Konov, former CEO of Sibur Holding, who appealed to the EU Governor of Luxembourg on June 1, with additional complaints by Roman Abramovich, Andrey Melnichenko, Mikhail Fridman and others. More appeal is coming every week.

“In most cases, the chances of success are very limited,” said Carsten Zatschler, an Irish court or barrister who specializes in EU law. He said it would be difficult to even claim that the EU was too broad to trap Putin’s opponents because “the underlying decision involves so many political decisions.” ..

One case was decided last week When the Kremlin insider behind the infamous brutal mercenary loses legal efforts to thwart previous sanctions. The Court of First Instance said Yevgeny Prigodin did not show that the Council of the European Union’s decisions in 2020 and 2021 that frozen bank accounts in response to the actions of Wagner Group mercenaries in Libya were unjustified. I have decided.

The EU, in the words of the European Commission, has authorized an unprecedented number of businesses and individuals to attack Russia “in pain”. Last week, the EU adopted a sixth sanctions package, including a partial ban on Russia’s oil imports and a decision to separate Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, from the international payment system SWIFT. More than 1,000 people, including Putin, his Foreign Minister, and nearly 100 companies, are currently on the EU sanctions list.

Konov’s lawyer believed in a statement that the EU’s decision to sanction clients “has virtually or no legal basis” and “wants to be dismissed by the court.” Spokespersons from Melnicenko and Abramovich did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Friedman declined to comment.

Anyone who makes an EU decision has a narrow period of just over two months to prepare an appeal. For most big names, even if the odds are against them, it’s worth a try given the deep pockets they have for expensive court battles. The first defeat in the Court of First Instance can be finally appealed in the EU Court of Justice, the Supreme Court of Brock.

But deciding to fight sanctions is one thing, finding a statutory agent is another, and because some of the largest law firms have decided to cut off relations with Russia. It’s getting tougher and harder. Even those who are mistakenly listed as sanctions have become difficult because “many law firms have avoided any Russian-related cases since the invasion,” Zatchler said.

One way Russians are having a hard time finding help is that British and Irish barristers are obliged to accept instructions in any legal discipline, regardless of who the client is. Taxi rank rule “.

Brexit has reduced the rights of barristers based in London, who have historically represented Russian clients, to defend in EU courts, but many barristers qualify for Ireland so they can continue. I got it. That is, you cannot make the same choices as any other legal expert, unless there are too many valid conflicts or other jobs.

But even those with cash and barristers must be supported for a long battle. Political demands encourage the EU to act swiftly and quickly find a good reason to add someone to the list. While these arguments are at risk of being taken up in court, the EU can often redesignate a person by adding more or new justifications.

Yanukovych defeated

Viktor Yanukovych, a former Ukrainian president and now seen as sympathetic to Russia in exile, knows how ephemeral such a victory is. He has been fighting the EU since he first sanctioned him on suspicion of misappropriation of Ukrainian funds in 2014, but he denies it.

Yanukovych has filed at least nine appeals in the EU Court of Justice. This is one case each time the EU decides to revise the sanctions list and add him. He won almost all of them, but he was re-adopted in March and remains on the valid list until next year. But this time, the restrictions on Yanukovych are only in force until September 6.

In rare cases, an appeal may suspend EU measures or open a proceeding for damages in a few years. The new ruling can set a precedent that EU institutions must respect and ensure that the new listing is justified.

But for now, sanctions appear to continue for some time as the EU continues to look for ways to punish Putin’s Russia and those close to it. And that means more and more appeals will be filed in the EU Court of Justice.

© 2022 Bloomberg LP Russians flock to EU court to overthrow sanctions

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