- The UK lifted sanctions on Wednesday against Russian oligarch Oleg Tinkov.
- Tinkov has been an outspoken critic of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling the war “crazy.”
- Virgin Group founder Richard Branson supported Tinkov’s appeal against the sanctions.
Since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, countries around the world have allowed thousands of Russian businesses and people. Now, one tycoon is being removed from that list.
The United Kingdom lifted sanctions against Wednesday Russian oligarch Oleg Tinkov, the British foreign office announced on Thursday.
It was Tinkov, who founded the Tinkoff digital Bank in 2006 approved by the country in March 2022 along with nine other Russian businesses and individuals. The restrictions targeted key industries supporting Russia’s illegal invasion, according to a UK government announcement at the time.
The Russian businessman has been an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. In April last year, Tinkov described the war in Ukraine as “crazy” and called anyone who supported it a “moron”. Instagram post. he He also renounced his Russian citizenship in late 2022. He is still a Cypriot citizen, the New York Times reported in October 2022.
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group empire, endorsed Tinkov’s appeal against UK sanctions, The Times media outlet reported on Monday.
Branson said he has known Tinkov for twenty years.
“Although he was a wealthy Russian businessman he was never an oligarch,” Branson wrote in a letter of support included in Tinkov’s legal appeal, according to The Times. “I’ve always known him as a dynamic self-made entrepreneur. That’s why I supported him and continue to do so.”
“After considering all the factors in this case, including the actions taken by Mr Tinkov following his sanctions designation, we have revoked his nomination. We keep all sanctions designations under review,” a UK foreign office spokesperson told Insider.
The UK government takes public criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into account when assessing whether to lift sanctions, the FT reported citing people familiar with the criteria.
Tinkov has not been approved by the US and the EU.
lawyers the businessman at a law firm Binning Cork Tinkov said those sanctions are “wrongly, unfairly and irrationally targeted.”
“His designation seriously undermined his health, his ability to do business, and his international reputation,” said David Corker, the lead lawyer on Tinkov’s case.
On a personal level, Tinkov’s fortunes have been hit hard by the fallout from the war.
According to Forbesit was worth $4.7 billion in April 2021 but he lost his billionaire status just days after Russia invaded Ukraine caused Tinkoff Bank share prices to fall. Tinkov greatly increased his fortune without state support, according to the FT.
He sold his family’s 35% stake in Tinkoff Bank in April 2022.
Neither Tinkov nor Branson immediately responded to Insider’s requests for comment outside regular business hours.