EU Sanctions 26 Russians over Ukraine Invasion, Including Putin’s Friend

The EU added a cellist and one of Vladimir Putin’s best friends to its list of officials and military figures who have been banned from traveling to the Union and whose assets there have been frozen.

Sergei Roldugin in PalmyraAccording to the leak, Roldugin is responsible for ‘shuffling’ at least US$2 billion through banks and offshore companies and funneled billions of dollars through a money laundering system called the “Troika Laundromat” which refers to a network of about 70 offshore companies used by their owners for laundering and transferring money from Russia to the West. (Photo: Russian Ministry of Defence, Wikimedia, License)According to the document, Sergei Roldugin, 71, dubbed “Putin’s wallet,” is part of the Russian president’s hidden financial network. The Panama Papers leak from 2016 showed that Roldugin owns at least five offshore companies and that he keeps his assets at Bank Rossiya which was also sanctioned.

According to the leak, Roldugin is responsible for ‘shuffling’ at least US$2 billion through banks and offshore companies and funneled billions of dollars through a money laundering system called the “Troika Laundromat” which refers to a network of about 70 offshore companies used by their owners for laundering and transferring money from Russia to the West.

“He is therefore responsible for actively supporting, materially or financially, Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine,” the EU regulation said.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted the bloc, the U.K. and the U.S. to sanction Russian individuals, institutions and companies allegedly closely connected to Putin.

Among them are Igor Sechin, 61, the chief executive of Rosneft, the state oil company and one of the world’s largest crude oil producers; a former KGB colleague of Putin’s, Nikolay Tokarev, 71, who is chief executive of Transneft, a major Russian oil and gas company; Alisher Usmanov, 68, a businessman who operates in the iron ore and steel industry as well as some from the media and internet sectors who are believed to be “one of Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarchs”.

The list also includes Petr Aven, 64, who is among the 50 richest businessmen who regularly meet the Russian president; Mikhail Fridman, 55, a key shareholder at the Alfa Bank; and Dmitri Peskov, 54, who is Putin’s press secretary.