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A billionaire Russian oligarch says he doesn't know how to live 3 weeks after being hit with sanctions

Mar 17, 2022, 21:24 IST
Business Insider
Russian businessman and billionaire Mikhail Fridman attends a meeting of Russian Union and entrepreneurs on November 10, 2009 in Moscow, Russia.Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images
  • Mikhail Fridman said he didn't know how to live after being hit by sanctions, Bloomberg reported.
  • He said he had an allowance of $3,300 a month and needed UK government permission to spend money.
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The Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman said in an interview that he didn't know how to live, three weeks after coming under sanctions, Bloomberg reported.

Fridman, who has a net worth of $10.1 billion, Bloomberg's Billionaires Index said, was sanctioned by the European Union on February 28 and by the UK on March 15.

He described the EU's sanctions as "groundless and unfair" at the time and said he would contest them, Reuters reported.

Since the invasion of Ukraine began, Fridman's wealth dropped by $4 billion, Bloomberg reported.

"I don't know how to live," Fridman told Bloomberg. "I don't know. I really don't know."

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Fridman, a cofounder of the London investment firm LetterOne and former board member of the Russian banking company Alfa-Bank, told Bloomberg that the sanctions meant that his last working UK bank card was frozen.

Fridman, who lives in the UK, has an allowance of 2,500 pounds ($3,300) per month and has to apply for a license to spend money before the British government decides how reasonable the request is, he told Bloomberg.

"My problems are really nothing compared with their problems," he told Bloomberg, referring to Ukrainians trapped in the conflict.

Fridman resigned from the board of Alfa-Bank one day after the EU sanctioned him. He also stepped down from the board of directors of LetterOne, the investment firm he cofounded.

Fridman said he thought he had a good relationship with the West because of his trips to Washington and an Alfa-Bank fellowship program he set up for American, British, and German citizens in 2004.

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"We sincerely believed we are such good friends of the Western world that we couldn't be punished," he told Bloomberg.

Fridman is among the many Russians targeted by Western sanctions aimed at crippling Russia's economy and punishing President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.

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