UK investments ‘a colossal mistake’ – Russian tycoon

Mikhail Fridman’s assets remain frozen despite a criminal probe over sanctions evasion being dropped

Sanctioned Russian mogul Mikhail Fridman says he regrets investing in the UK after having his assets frozen and being forced to leave the country, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

“I was given no choice, I was squeezed out,” Fridman told the news agency. “Today, the fact that we invested money in Britain looks like a colossal mistake.”

The billionaire left London in September for Israel, saying it was “impossible to live in the UK under sanctions,” as British authorities refused to allow him to pay for the upkeep of his London mansion and his staff’s wages. The businessman flew to Moscow days after the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7 triggered a new bout of violence in Israel.

Fridman and Petr Aven, his longtime partner at Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest privately owned lender, were sanctioned by the EU several days after the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Their LetterOne and Alfa Group partners German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev were sanctioned in March 2022, when the UK blacklisted all four. The entrepreneurs have been challenging the decisions in court.

READ MORE: Russian ‘oligarchs’ seek damages over EU sanctions – WSJ

Aven, who is currently considering a return to Russia from Latvia, where authorities are threatening to revoke his citizenship, has also regretted investing in the UK.

During a three-hour interrogation at an airport in London in July 2022, Aven said investing billions in the UK was a “mistake,” according to Bloomberg.

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