Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven are selling their shares in Alfa-Bank for $2.3 billion to free themselves from Western sanctions. This was reported by the Financial Times, citing four sources who are directly familiar with the agreement and the deal documents.
Andrey Kosogov, a longtime business partner of the oligarchs, who is not subject to sanctions, has agreed to buy Fridman and Aven's shares in the bank for 178 billion rubles ($2.3 billion) from the Cypriot parent company.
Subject to regulatory approval, London-based Fridman and Aven will cease to be indirect shareholders of Alfa-Bank.
“They want to do everything possible to get rid of their Russian assets so that the sanctions are lifted,” one source familiar with the deal told the publication.
On March 9, politician Leonid Volkov announced that he was stepping down as chairman of the board of ACF International (the international name for the Anti-Corruption Foundation). According to him, this is due to a letter that he, without informing his colleagues from the FBK, sent to the office of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in 2022 and which he himself calls "a big political mistake."
In his letter, Volkov invites Borrell to write down clear criteria for lifting the sanctions. Many businessmen who do not support the Kremlin’s course have been unfairly sanctioned, the politician points out. As an example, he cites the shareholders of Alfa Group Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev and proposes to exclude them from the EU sanctions list.
Earlier, Venediktov also published another letter, in which, among other signatories, Volkov signed for the removal of the leaders of Alfa Group, including Mikhail Fridman, from European sanctions.
After these publications, journalist Sergei Parkhomenko, whose signature is also in the document published by Venediktov, told how she appeared there. According to him, one of the leaders of Alfa Group addressed him with a personal request and asked him to sign the text "which is necessary for the court." Probably in the same way, Alfa Group representatives collected letters of recommendation from other signatories, and then created a single list from them.
Parkhomenko also said that, according to him, there were other letters about the lifting of sanctions against one of the leaders of Alfa, written in a personal manner. In particular, such letters, according to him, were signed by Dmitry Muratov, Ilya Yashin and Memorial.