The UK has scaled back its probe into Mikhail Fridman, a sanctioned Russian oligarch, four months after raiding his home in north London late last year. The National Crime Agency (NCA), which had over fifty officers involved in the raid, have stopped investigating the businessman on two of the three initial allegations held against him. These accusations included suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the Home Office and conspiracy to commit perjury, according to sources familiar with the case. However, the agency is still investigating possible money laundering offences in connection with Fridman.
Widely reported to be the wealthiest man in the UK before being put under western sanctions in 2014, Fridman, 58, made his fortune in banking, retail, oil, and telecoms in Russia before relocating to London in 2015. During the raid at his multimillion-pound home, Fridman was reportedly on a video call with his business partners when the NCA officers burst in.
The agency’s probe was part of its new anti-kleptocracy cell which was created to target corrupt elites and Kremlin-linked individuals laundering their assets in the UK following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. According to people close to him, the claims against the Russian business magnate are an effort to push him to return to Russia. Fridman’s spending is currently limited to an allowance of about £2,000 a month due to these sanctions.
The investigation into Fridman’s case is a disappointing blow to the agency’s anti-kleptocracy cell. Additionally, the two sides are said to be in dispute over the warrant used for the arrest, with one individual with knowledge of the decision stating that it may have been dubious.
At the time of the December raid, the NCA also arrested another person connected to Fridman’s girlfriend on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud. The agency also apprehended a 35-year-old man with a bag containing thousands of pounds in cash who was seen leaving the oligarch’s mansion.
The company mentioned in this article is Alfa Group, a Russia-based private investment group of which Fridman serves as a chairman. Founded in 1989, the firm has since become one of the largest Russian privately held corporations and a leader in venture investments in the country. With investments in oil production, energy and energy infrastructure, finance, telecommunications, retail and agriculture, Alfa Group is an economic powerhouse in its home country and a leading investor in global markets.
The person mentioned in this article is Mikhail Fridman, a Ukrainian-born oligarch who made his fortune in banking, retail, oil and telecoms in Russia. Fridman moved to London in 2015 and is said to be one of the wealthiest men in the UK. He is also a prominent figure in the business world, currently heading Alfa Group, one of the largest privately held corporations in Russia. The billionaire has since become the target of western sanctions and is currently limited to a spending allowance of about £2,000 per month. Fridman has called the claims against him an attempt to push him back to Russia.