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Err, yes?

Trusts holding billions of dollars of assets for Roman Abramovich were amended to transfer beneficial ownership to his children shortly before sanctions were imposed on the Russian oligarch.

OK, so he no longer owns nor benefits from those assets then. If he does, then the asset transfer hasn’t actually gone through. We’ve already got masses and masses of trust law on this point.

Sanctions experts said the sweeping reorganisation of the trusts could complicate efforts to enforce sanctions against the oligarch and potentially frustrate attempts to freeze assets previously believed to belong to the metals tycoon.

But you don’t get to freeze assets that “formerly” belonged. You get to freeze what does belong. If he sticks a tenner into some beggar’s cup you can’t freeze the £10, that belongs to the beggar. So with transferring assets. If it’s done before sanctions then he’s free to transfer as he likes. Those assets are now no longer his. What’s difficult about this?

Sanctions experts said the changes may have been a deliberate but not unlawful attempt to distance the oligarch from his wealth before sanctions were imposed.


My suspicion is that this story is being driven by greed. Sanctions! We get to confiscate the rich! And then that disappointment, well, no, not this one. So, quick, quick, change the law!

8 thoughts on “Err, yes?”

  1. Still don’t see how HM Gov stealing (or in this case, trying, but failing to) an individuals stuff because he isn’t on Vlad’s death list is in anyway just.

  2. It was only ever political posturing. Shady Arab and Chinese billionaires were just fine and dandy.

    Initially with Chelsea FC he made the calculation to roll over for them but you don’t get to be that rich without having a backbone of steel plus a decent team of lawyers and tax advisors.

  3. Still don’t see how HM Gov stealing . . . an individuals stuff because he isn’t on Vlad’s death list is in anyway just.

    Straw man; the sanctions on Russian kleptocrats, goons and apparatchiks weren’t because they weren’t “on Vlad’s death list”, they were sanctioned because of active, close, dodgy-as-fuck links with the naughty Russian government.

    But in the case of Abramovic, it’s interesting that he wasn’t sanctioned until well into March whereas many others were hit immediately in the first days after the Russian attack. You could conclude his sanctioning was western designed to keep him off the long range death list and his dosh away from Putin’s sticky fingers. Plenty of time to make financial arrangements; even to get his jets and yachts away. President Zelensky urged the US to defer sanctions on Abramovic, and Ukraine only imposed “suspended” sanctions on him while the exchange of prisoners and deceased is ongoing.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if these leaks were from Russian hackers. Abramovic should be worried for his children.

  4. “There’s a material difference between giving something to a beggar and giving it to your children.”

    I mean in principle it’s a fundamental part of our law, even our society, that we treat children as independent human beings rather than as just part of a family unit (unlike, say, the ancient Romans). But in practice, it’s a pretty obvious dodge. Similarly when Joe Bloggs donates to the Bloggs Charitable Foundation, which happens to do a lot of work in areas the Joe Bloggs takes an interest in (flights and swanky dos with the local movers and shakers) and coincidentally employs Miss Bloggs Junior as well as the Joe’s mistress.

    Not sure what the solution to this is, can/should the kids be made to promise they won’t spend any of it for their parent’s benefit?

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