EU agrees to sanction Aughinish-linked oligarch

Oleg Deripaska named in EU official journal

The European Union has agreed to sanction Oleg Deripaska, a major shareholder in Aughinish Alumina in Limerick through his company Rusal.

Mr Deripaska is named in a document published in the EU's official journal on Friday. The document also names the boss of Russia's top lender Sberbank, Vladimir Putin's two daughters and other oligarchs as being subject to asset freezes.

The Government has been keen to protect the role of Aughinish Alumina as a major employer in the Limerick region, and it was unclear how the sanctioning of Mr Deripaska could affect the plant.

Since the start of war in Ukraine, the EU has blacklisted around 700 people linked to the Kremlin or accused of supporting the invasion, which Moscow calls a "special operation". That has not always, however, led to a quick freezing of assets, amid legal hurdles and sometimes lack of political will.

The new measures will hit over 200 additional individuals, mostly from the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, and also top businessmen, politicians and military staff close to the Kremlin.

Another 18 entities have also been hit by asset freezes, including four banks, such as VTB, and military firms, nearly doubling the number of companies hit by sanctions since the start of the war.

Herman Gref, the head of Sberbank, has been added to the EU blacklist, according to the document, in a move that is important symbolically. The EU has so far refrained from sanctioning the bank, which plays a key role in energy payments.

Mr Putin's daughters Ekaterina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova have also now been sanctioned for benefiting from the Russian government, the document said. – Reuters