Top EU court has annulled the decisions of the Council of the European Union to impose sanctions on Russian businessmen Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman

10 Apr 2024, 30 mins ago

In today’s landmark judgments concerning the imposition of sanctions by the EU (cases T-301/22 and T-304/22), the top EU court has annulled the decisions of the Council of the European Union to impose sanctions on Russian businessmen Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman.

Thierry Marembert and Aaron Bass of Kiejman & Marembert (Paris), who conducted the proceedings in Europe in collaboration with Roger Gherson of Gherson Solicitors LLP (London), have achieved a remarkable outcome. They collated a body of compelling evidence to demonstrate that the material relied upon by the Council of the European Union was inaccurate and wholly insufficient to justify their inclusion on the EU sanctions list.

The EU’s General Court concluded that the grounds for designation relied upon by the EU Council against Messrs Aven and Fridman, specifically that they had (i) supported actions or policies that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine; and (ii) provided material or financial support to the Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of Ukraine, or had benefited from those decision-makers, were simply not made out on the facts. 

This result is a rare victory in the field of sanctions law and highlights the benefits of collaboration between EU and UK teams of internationally recognised lawyers with expertise on economic sanctions matters and experience spanning multiple jurisdictions and areas of law.  

Although Messrs Aven and Fridman remain on the EU sanctions list, by virtue of designations imposed after March 2023 (these later designations are the subject of additional challenges), these decisions are an important signal to the Council of the European Union that sanctions mechanisms must be transparently operated and that sanctions designations must be firmly rooted in the facts and be properly justified.

How Gherson can help

Gherson has extensive experience in dealing with the UK and EU sanctions from various perspectives. Our experts have helped sanctioned clients in respect of compliance with sanctions, challenging sanctions designations and sanctions-related disputes against government authorities and/or other commercial parties.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on XFacebook or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2024