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01st Mar 2022

Alisher Usmanov releases statement after having assets frozen by EU

Daniel Brown

Usmanov believes the decision is ‘unfair’

Alisher Usmanov has released a statement after he had all of his assets frozen by the European Union as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

His company – USM Holdings – sponsor Everton’s training ground and also have exclusive naming-rights to the Toffee’s new stadium.

The 68-year-old, who was a former shareholder in Arsenal until 2018, has now seen restrictions imposed on him which include a “prohibition from making funds available” as well as an EU travel ban.

The former professional fencer said: “On 28 February 2022 I became the target of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union.

“I believe that such decision is unfair, and the reasons employed to justify the sanctions are a set of false and defamatory allegations damaging my honor (sic), dignity and business reputation.

“I will use all legal means to protect my honor (sic) and reputation.

“I hereby suspend the exercise of my duties as the President of the International Fencing Federation effective immediately until justice is restored.”

MP Chris Bryant has called for Everton to sever their ties with Usmanov, who is a long-time business associate of Farhad Moshiri – the Toffees’ owner.

Moshiri was named by the EU as one of a number of the businessmen sanctioned for apparent ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

As Usmanov is a shareholder in a sponsor organisation, rather than a club investor or owner – like Roman Abramovich – it could affect the potential action from the Premier League.

As reported by the Liverpool Echo, in an updated regulation in the Official Journal of the European Union on Monday, Mr Usmanov was named as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin”.

The report states that the document added: “[Usmanov] has been referred to as one of Vladimir Putin’s favourite oligarchs. He is considered to be one of Russia’s businessmen-officials, who were entrusted with servicing financial flows, but their positions depend on the will of the President.”

The the EU report also concluded that Mr Usmanov “actively supported materially or financially Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine” and “actively supported the Russian government’s policies of destabilisation of Ukraine.”

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