Russian oligarch Vekselberg hit with US sanctions

Viktor Vekselberg insists that he has no close connections to the Kremlin. Keystone / Alessandro Della Bella

United States sanctions have targeted a yacht and an aircraft belonging to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who is resident in Switzerland.

This content was published on March 14, 2022

The US Treasury Department said on FridayExternal link that Vekselberg, who has an estimated $6 billion (CHF5.6 billion) fortune, has close links with Russian President Vladimir Putin and former president Dmitry Medvedev.

The US accused Vekselberg of acting on behalf of Putin and of being a key player in Russia’s technology sector through his holding company Renova.

“Furthermore, Vekselberg has taken part in Russian diplomatic and soft power activities on behalf of the Kremlin,” the statement read.

The yacht, called Tango, and the private aircraft have an estimated combined value of $180 million.

Renova also has significant stakes in Swiss manufacturing and real estate companies, which were reducedExternal link when Vekselberg was previously hit with US sanctions in 2018.

Vekselberg has maintained that he has no special ties to the KremlinExternal link and vehemently protested the 2018 sanctionsExternal link.

His name has not yet appeared on the list of European Union sanctioned individuals, which Switzerland has decided to mirror with its own measuresExternal link.

But Switzerland is facing pressure from Washington to also observe US sanctions, according to Swiss public broadcaster SRFExternal link.

Besides having to reduce his ties to Swiss companies in 2018, Vekselberg also faced having his bank account closed by the financial arm of the Swiss post office.

In February, a Swiss court ruled that PostFinance had been wrong to take this actionExternal link.

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