Judicial Practice on Challenging Restriction Measures: Main Trends

30 November 2023
Ksenia Skoromolova

Recently the judicial practice on challenging sanctions imposed on Russian persons has begun to shape. We have already written about the first successful case with the participation of Russian person Dmitry Ovsyannikov, the former governor of Sevastopol, who managed to have himself excluded from the sanctions list.

Since that case was decided in February 2023, the sanctions removal practice has enriched by several other notable cases.

  • Removal of Alexander Pumpyanskiy from the EU sanctions list1   

Alexander Pumpyanskiy is the son of billionaire Dmitry Pumpyanskiy, against whom sanctions have also been imposed. Alexander used to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Pipe Metallurgical Company and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sinara Group. On this basis, as well as due to the participation of his father, being under sanctions, in the management of the same companies, he was included in the EU sanctions list. He succeeded in challenging the imposition of sanctions after having left the abovementioned companies, therefore he ceased to be considered a person providing material support to the Russian Federation.

  • Removal of Grigory Berezkin, Farhad Akhmedov and Alexander Shulgin from the EU sanctions list2

Grigory Berezkin is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of ESN Group, a Russian private equity group with an investment portfolio in various industries, including media, energy, infrastructure, IT, natural resources and petrochemicals.

Farhad Akhmedov is a Russian businessman who founded Tansley Trading, which supplied equipment to Russian gas producers. He was also a minority shareholder in the oil and gas company Nortgas in Siberia and used to be a member of the Federation Council.

Alexander Shulgin is the ex-CEO of Ozon, a leading Russian e-commerce platform (left the company's board of directors in April 2022).

All of the abovementioned persons were subject to the restriction measures because they were considered to be close to the President of the Russian Federation. Thereafter, the EU did not extend the sanctions against the aforementioned individuals.

  • Removal of Oleg Boyko from Canada's sanctions list3

Oleg Boiko - the founder of Finstar Holding, which manages the financial technology company DFI, the gambling company Ritzio International and the perfume chain «Rive Gauche». He got under sanctions in April 2022 and was excluded in November 2023. The basis for exclusion was the court's conviction that the businessman has no connection to political process.

However, at the same time, the opposite practice remains - some applicants do not success exempting from existing restriction measures. For instance, recently Dmitry Mazepin, Alexei Kuzmichev, German Khan and a number of other persons, included in the sanctions lists, have failed to challenge the imposition of sanctions.

To sum up, the challenge of the sanctions is highly probable due to the dismissal of the grounds for inclusion in the sanctions list. This provision is applicable to all the procedures for challenging the restrictions imposed, both administrative and judicial orders.

1EU court decision is available at: https://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=280230&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=3276267.
2 Text of the regulation showing the fact of exclusion from the sanctions list is available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32023R1765.
3 The publication is available at: https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/sanctions/russia_regulations-reglement_russie51.aspx?lang=eng