Three Jersey-based companies “worth billions and controlled by a Russian ‘oligarch’ with close ties to the Kremlin” have had tough sanctions imposed on them by the US government, a Jersey publication has reported.
In a story headed “Jersey in Trump’s sights amid oligarch crackdown”, the Jersey Evening Post reports that the US Treasury had applied “strict penalties”, including a freeze on assets and a ban on dealing with American citizens, against seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies they owned or controlled, and 17 senior government officials.
Among them, it added, was billionaire Oleg Deripaska, pictured above, three of whose eight affected companies are Jersey-registered firms: Basic Element Ltd, described as “a private investment and management company”, EN+ Group, an aluminium and power producer, and United Company Rusal Plc, “one of the world’s largest aluminium producers”.
The JEP notes that all three of the Jersey companies are shown in Jersey Company Registry documents to be registered at 44 Esplanade, at the Jersey offices of Intertrust, an Amsterdam-based trust and corporate services provider.
The Jersey Evening Post quotes an Intertrust spokesperson, Hendrik Dewit, as saying that the company took the monitoring of its clients’ backgrounds “very seriously” and that it runs “nightly checks on our clients”.
“And if we find any irregularities with existing clients, we take appropriate measures and work with the authorities where necessary,” Dewit added.
The US sanctions were part of the Trump administration’s response to Russia’s alleged role in the poisoning of a former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in the UK city of Salisbury last month.
US: ‘non-US persons’ could be target
In its statement, published on 6 April, the US Treasury said that “non-US persons” could be penalised if they assisted individuals or companies named on the list.
“All assets subject to US jurisdiction of the designated individuals and entities, and of any other entities blocked by operation of law as a result of their ownership by a sanctioned party, are frozen, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealings with them, ” it says.
“Additionally, non-US persons could face sanctions for knowingly facilitating significant transactions for or on behalf of the individuals or entities blocked today.”
The JEP said it attempted to contact the Jersey Financial Services Commission and Jersey’s government for comment on the US sanctions report, but that it had not received a response at the time it went to press on Tuesday.
It also noted that during Monday’s sitting of the States of Jersey lawmakers, senator Philip Ozouf had raised a question about the vetting process for high-value residents coming to live in Jersey, in light of the Skripal poisoning and the US sanctions, and that economic development minister Lyndon Farnham had replied that Jersey has a “robust” regime for vetting incoming HNWIs that is continuously reviewed.
To read the Jersey Evening Post’s story on its website, click here.