UK Withdraws Investigation of Sanctioned Russian Billionaire Fridman

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UK authorities have reportedly dropped part of their investigation into sanctioned Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, following a dramatic raid on his £65 million ($81.1 million) London home late last year.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) had arrested Fridman — one of Russia’s most prominent businessmen — on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the Home Office and conspiracy to commit perjury, but have since dropped these charges. They are still carrying out money laundering investigations and challenging the legal basis of the search warrant.

At the time of the raid, the NCA reported that 50 officers had descended on Fridman’s home and had confiscated “digital devices and a significant quantity of cash.” In addition, a 35 year-old man was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and obstruction for allegedly leaving the house with a bag containing “thousands of pounds in cash.”

In what has widely been understood as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, the EU and UK Courts placed sanctions on Fridman and his business partners that included a punishment of having assets frozen. After making billions from the oil company TNK-BP and retail, Fridman had chosen to live in the UK under the sanctions. The U.S. has not taken any punitive action.

Fridman is the founder and Chairman of Alfa Group, a major private investment company with substantial holdings in Russia and Ukraine. The company is involved in a wide range of investments in aerospace, technolgy, banking and insurance.

Mikhail Fridman is a 58 year-old Russian billionaire who has made his fortune in banking, oil and retail. In particular, Fridman and his partners pocketed $14 billion from the sale of oil company TNK-BP to state-controlled Rosneft in 2013. Since then, Fridman has been living in the UK where he has set up a private equity firm to invest in businesses across the world.