Britain sanctions Gennady Timchenko and five banks, Johnson says

  • Britain to sanction 5 banks
  • Britain sanctions three wealthy people
  • Britain sanctions Timchenko and Rotenbergs

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Britain on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Gennady Timchenko and two other billionaires closely linked to Vladimir Putin after the Kremlin leader ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in the east from Ukraine.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Russia is heading for ‘pariah status’ and the world must now prepare for the next stage of Putin’s plan, saying the Kremlin is preparing the ground for a full-scale invasion from Ukraine.

Johnson told parliament that five banks – Rossiya, IS Bank, GenBank, Promsvyazbank and Black Sea Bank – were being sanctioned, along with three people – Timchenko, Igor Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg.

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But Johnson has refrained from imposing limits on Russia’s biggest state banks, cutting capital from Russian companies or ejecting other so-called Russian oligarchs from Britain.

“This is the first installment, the first barrage of what we’re ready to do,” Johnson said.

“Any assets they hold in the UK will be frozen and those affected will be banned from traveling here,” Johnson said of those sanctioned.

Some British lawmakers have called on Johnson to be tougher on Russian money, even demanding that Russian oligarchs be expelled from Britain and that Russian money be extracted from the City of London.

Hundreds of billions of dollars have flowed into London and Britain’s overseas territories since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and London has become the Western city of choice for Russia’s super-rich and others. former Soviet republics.

Britain has threatened to cut off Russian businesses’ access to US dollars and pounds, preventing them from raising capital in London and exposing what Johnson calls the ‘Russian doll’ of property and ownership companies.


Although Johnson put Putin on alert that more sanctions would follow, Britain’s initial sanctions package went little further than the United States, which in 2014 sanctioned Timchenko the Rotenbergs.

Britain says Timchenko, one of the founders of trading firm Gunvor, was a major shareholder in Bank Rossiya, itself a stakeholder in the National Media Group that backed Ukraine’s destabilization after annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.

“Bank Rossiya supported the consolidation of Crimea into the Russian Federation by integrating the financial system after the annexation of Crimea,” Britain said.

Timchenko, who Forbes says is worth $23.5 billion, is a close ally of Russian President Putin, as are the Rotenbergs, Johnson said.

Johnson said Europe had failed to wean itself off Russian energy and welcomed Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s decision to shut down the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith called on Johnson to go further with sanctions and warned that China would carefully monitor the West’s response.

“They must be feeling the pain of the first part of this decision,” Duncan Smith said. “China will watch this and watch Taiwan.”

“Now we have to prepare for possible next steps in Putin’s plan,” Johnson said. “Putin is establishing the pretext for a full-scale offensive.”

The economy of once-mighty superpower Russia is now smaller than that of Italy according to IMF data, with a nominal GDP of around $1.7 trillion.

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Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Michael Holden

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