A Russian billionaire suing Australia’s foreign minister claims sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine have caused serious reputational damage.
Alexander Abramov is the chairman of the steel company Evraz and is estimated to have a net worth of over $6 billion.The Morrison government imposed financial and travel sanctions on 67 people in AprilAbramov says no other country has imposed sanctions against him
Steel magnate Alexander Abramov launched legal action against Senator Penny Wong after the former government in April sanctioned 67 Russian elites and oligarchs over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
His lawyer, Ron Merkel QC, told the Federal Court on Friday that the sanctions had caused serious reputational damage and the legal fallout had led to ongoing financial loss.
Abramov, who co-founded Russia’s biggest steelmaker Evraz, wants the sanctions lifted, arguing they are unique to Australia because no other country has imposed similar bans on it.
“Our real point here is that the approach the minister has taken is ill-conceived,” Merkel said.
“Australia’s sanctions have also affected Mr Abramov’s dealings in New Zealand.”
He said the case was unusual in that public announcements by former Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne explaining her decision would form part of the lawsuit.
On April 7, Senator Payne announced that the government had decided to impose “targeted financial sanctions and travel bans” on 67 people “for their role in Russia’s unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine”.
Space for play or pause, M for mute, left and right arrows for search, up and down arrows for volume.I will seeDuration: 1 minute 44 seconds1 m 44 secondsFormer Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced sanctions on 67 Russian elites in April
Among those sanctioned were Russian military, business and government officials.
Senator Wong is represented by lawyer Brendan Lim.
Lim said the federal government was considering a request to prevent the public release of some information from the court documents.
The matter will return before Judge Susan Kenny on August 26.