Famed Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich lost his appeal to be removed from EU sanctions on Dec. 20.
Abramovich and other top Russian oligarchs were sanctioned after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. He filed a challenge against the decision at the EU court in Brussels, saying that he had no influence over the Kremlin's decisions and that his business interests were not connected to the war.
Abramovich has a net worth estimated to be around $9 billion and has Russian, Israeli, and Portuguese citizenship. He was formerly the governor of the Chukotka region in Russia's far east, and previously owned the U.K. Chelsea football club, which he was forced to sell after the outbreak of the full-scale invasion.
In its ruling, the court disputed the notion that Abramovich's business dealings do not benefit the Russian government, noting that he owns a stake in the Evraz steel company that provides revenue to the government.
"The (European) Council did not in fact err in its assessment by deciding to include, then maintain, Mr Abramovich’s name on the lists at issue, in the light of his role in the Evraz group and, in particular, its parent company," the court said.
Abramovich participated in peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine shortly after the outbreak of the full-scale invasion. Bloomberg reported that he visited Kyiv as part of the talks in April 2022, which his spokesperson denied.
Later in the year, Abramovich met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help negotiate a prisoner exchange.
Abramovich has said that he would donate the profits of the sale of Chelsea FC to benefit Ukrainian victims of the war. The funds, around $3 billion, remain frozen in the U.K. due to a dispute between the oligarch and the U.K. government on how they should be spent.