Vekselberg’s $2bn assets frozen on US sanctions

ZURICH/MOSCOW: Assets totalling almost $2 billion have been frozen as a result of sanctions imposed on Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and his Renova Group conglomerate, two sources close to the matter said.
The United States imposed sanctions against several Russian entities and individuals, including Swiss-based Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and his Renova Group, on April 6 to punish Moscow for suspected meddling in the 2016 US election and other alleged “malign activity.”
As a result of the sanctions, all US dollar bank accounts of companies controlled by Renova have been blocked, the people said, confirming an earlier report in Swiss paper Finanz und Wirtschaft on Saturday.
Ties to Renova have caused difficulties for a number of European firms since the sanctions were announced, with pumpmaker Sulzer taking a one-off hit from business disruption and agreeing to buy 5 million shares from Renova to free itself from sanctions.
Meanwhile, Italy’s Octo Telematics put its IPO on hold and Steelmaker Schmolz & Bickenbach has faced snags in clearing a bond placement needed to finance a deal.
Nonetheless, Renova, which is headquartered in Moscow and has a subsidiary in Zurich, intends to maintain its Swiss holdings, which also include a stake in Oerlikon.
Renova and Vekselberg are seeking the help of Swiss authorities in clearing up business matters, the people said, adding that the Swiss government had been instrumental in helping free Sulzer from sanctions.
Salary accounts of several Swiss-based Renova employees had been blocked for a time, the people said, but were once again open after clearing diligence checks. — Reuters