A Russian billionaire who is suing Australia’s foreign minister says sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine have caused him serious reputational damage.
- Alexander Abramov is the chairman of Evraz Steel Company and is estimated to have a net worth of over $6 billion.
- The Morrison government imposed financial and travel sanctions on 67 people in April
- Mr Abramov says no other country has imposed sanctions on him
Steel tycoon Alexander Abramov has filed a lawsuit against Senator Penny Wong after the former government in April sanctioned 67 Russian elites and oligarchs following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
His lawyer Ron Merkel QC told the Federal Court on Friday that the sanctions caused serious reputational damage and the legal consequences resulted in continued financial loss.
Mr Abramov, who co-founded Russia’s biggest steel producer Evraz, wants the sanctions lifted, arguing they are unique to Australia because no other country has imposed similar bans on it.
“Our real argument here is that the minister’s approach is wrong,” Merkel said.
“The Australian sanctions have also had an impact on Mr. Abramov’s dealings in New Zealand.”
He said the case was unusual because former Foreign Secretary Marise Payne’s public announcements explaining her decision would be part of the prosecution.
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 the unprovoked, unjust and unlawful invasion of Ukraine by Russia”.
Among those sanctioned were Russian military, business and government officials.
Senator Wong is represented by attorney Brendan Lim.
The federal government was considering a request to prevent public disclosure of certain information contained in court documents, Lim said.
The case will return to Judge Susan Kenny on August 26.