- A sanctioned Russian oligarch told the FT that his investment firm was afraid to meet him personally.
- Petr Aven stepped down from LetterOne in early March after he was sanctioned by the UK and EU.
- The company reportedly proceeded to ban him from talking to staff and locked him out of the office.
A Russian oligarch sanctioned by the UK and EU said the investment firm he co-founded was scared to meet him after he stepped down.
“They are afraid even to meet me personally. We are afraid of authorities very much,” Petr Aven said in an interview with the Financial Times published Friday.
Aven, 67, resigned in early March from the London-based $22 billion investment firm LetterOne, which he co-founded with Mikhail Fridman, another sanctioned Russian oligarch after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Chairman Mervyn Davies, who has since taken over LetterOne, previously told the Financial Times that colleagues weren’t allowed to talk to Aven and Fridman. Their stakes in the company were frozen. The firm also locked them both out of its offices and blocked them from accessing any documents, Davies told the FT.
“Legally, we cannot touch the business,” Aven told the FT on Friday.
LetterOne didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
He also told the FT that lawyers and other advisers were “afraid” and “doing much more than legally they [needed]” because of the fear of sanctions.
“British lawyers do not want to work with Russians,” he said in the interview.
Aven, who has an estimated net worth of $5.6 billion, per Bloomberg, was sanctioned by the EU on February 28 and the UK on March 15. The EU described him as “one of Vladimir Putin’s closest oligarchs.”
The billionaire reportedly resigned from the board of the Russian banking company Alfa-Bank days after the EU sanctioned him.
“That’s very strange, just to be sanctioned because you meet the president. We try to be absolutely out of politics. With Putin, I was presenting Alfa Group, not myself at all,” Aven told the FT.
In the interview, Aven said he was struggling to pay bills and wasn’t sure if he’ll be able to have a cleaner or driver.