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U.K. Sanctions Mining Magnate Vladimir Potanin—Russia’s Wealthiest Oligarch

By News Creatives Authors , in Billionaires , at January 1, 1970


The U.K. government on Wednesday announced sanctions against Russia’s richest man, metals tycoon Vladimir Potanin, closing in on an oligarch who has escaped most Western sanctions unscathed as countries ramp up the pressure on Moscow for invading Ukraine.

Key Facts

Potanin, who owns the conglomerate Interros and a large stake in the world’s largest nickel producer Norilsk Nickel (also known as Nornickel), will face an asset freeze, travel ban and other transport-related sanctions, the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

The Foreign Office said Potanin is a key Kremlin supporter and has continued to amass wealth since the invasion by acquiring Rosbank and shares in Tinkoff Bank.

The sanctions “show that nothing and no one is off the table, including Putin’s inner circle,” a government spokesperson said.

The U.K. also sanctioned Anna Tsivileva, president of Russian coal mining company JSC Kolmar Group and Vladimir Putin’s first cousin once removed, and her husband, Sergey Tsivilev.

Tsivileva and her husband, the governor of the coal rich Kemerovo region, have “significantly benefited from their relationship to Putin,” the Foreign Office said.

Key Background

The U.K. sanctions come as wealthy G-7 nations move to ramp up the pressure on Moscow for the war in Ukraine. On Monday, the U.S. announced higher tariffs on Russian goods, restrictions on gold exports and sanctions on a series of individuals and organizations supporting the war effort and G-7 nations on Tuesday pledged billions in support for Ukraine. These measures complement an already sweeping set of sanctions targeting large swathes of the Russian economy as well as Putin, his family and supporters and wealthy Russian elites. A price cap on Russian oil, which could cut off one of Putin’s most significant revenue streams while also addressing spiraling energy prices, is also in the works. Amid the sweeping measures, Potanin has largely managed to escape significant sanctions, a somewhat unique position for a tycoon of his stature and position.

What To Watch For

Metals prices. The nature of the metals market and Nornickel’s position means any possible sanctions on the company could impact metals prices. It is unclear whether U.K. sanctions target Nornickel, though prices for both nickel and palladium jumped after they were announced.

Big Number

$30.2 billion. That’s the estimated net worth of Potanin as of Wednesday morning, according to Forbes’ real-time tracker. This puts him just ahead of Andrey Melnichenko, worth an estimated $29.6 billion, as Russia’s richest person.

Further Reading

How Russia’s Wealthiest Oligarch Is Expanding His Financial Empire Free From Sanctions (Forbes)


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