UK hits oligarchs, Japan firms exit Russia – Yad Vashem suspends partnership with Abramovich

March 11, 2022 by AAP
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Japanese brands Uniqlo and Japan Tobacco have made U-turns and say they are stopping business in Russia, joining the corporate crowd shunning Moscow, and Britain has escalated sanctions against oligarchs including Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich.

Roman Abramovich lands in Israel

Investment bank Goldman Sachs became the first US bank to quit Russia, and global grain trader Bunge suspended new export business from Russia, although it is still crushing oil seeds for the domestic market.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would emerge stronger and more independent from Western sanctions, which he said were inevitable.

The corporate condemnation of Russia’s attack on Ukraine is spreading, but Putin, who calls the war a special military operation, said he had no choice.

The fallout is also broadening among Putin’s personal allies, as Abramovich and six others including Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russian energy giant Rosneft, became the highest-profile oligarchs

sanctioned by Britain since the invasion.

The action effectively puts Chelsea under UK government control, halting any disposal, and stopping new ticket or merchandise sales.

Britain’s move came as the first major mining company, Rio Tinto, said it was cutting all ties with Russian businesses, including fuel and other materials’ sources for its Mongolian copper operations at Oyu Tolgoi, where possible, and the use of an alumina refinery in Ireland.

Japan’s Sony and Nintendo suspended deliveries of their gaming consoles; Sony’s music businesses and Warner Music Group also stopped business in Russia.

Fast food, drinks and consumer goods companies, led by McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, have stepped back from Russia following pressure from customers in the West.

Hotelier Marriott International closed its Moscow office and joined Hilton and Hyatt in suspending developments.

The exodus by Japanese companies picked up steam. Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing had said it would continue operating its 50 stores in Russia because “clothing is a necessity of life”, but on Thursday the company said it could not continue business there because of “a number of difficulties”.

Japan Tobacco, which controls one-third of Russia’s tobacco market, said its subsidiary would stop investment, marketing and a launch of a heated tobacco product.

Japan’s Shiseido suspended exports of its cosmetics to Russia from Europe, and Mitsubishi Electric said it would stop exports to Russia, where operations were in a “difficult situation”.

Japanese construction machinery supplier Hitachi said it would stop exports and cease most operations in Russia except for vital electrical power facilities, following similar exits by American industrial companies Caterpillar, 3M Co, Deere and Honeywell.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse flagged a roughly $US900 million Russian credit exposure, including lending to wealthy clients, following disclosures from Italy’s UniCredit and France’s BNP Paribas.

Sweeping Western sanctions have isolated Russia. The war, which entered its third week on Thursday, has decimated the Russian rouble and prices of oil and other commodities have skyrocketed.

Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and Google Play store are suspending all payment-based services in Russia as sanctions start to pose banking challenges.

In Jerusalem, Yad Vashem announced: “In light of recent developments, Yad Vashem has decided to suspend the strategic partnership with Mr. Roman Abramovich.”


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