Post link 23 July 2014, 23:59
Putin's cronies to be named and shamed by Saturday as EU turns the screw with travel bans and asset freezes Putin’s billionaire cronies will be hit by EU sanctions by the weekend under plans being rushed through in Brussels to increase pressure on the Russian President.
Diplomatic sources say allies of Mr Putin could be named and shamed as early as Saturday, with their assets frozen and their travel restricted under moves to tighten the grip on those closest to the Kremlin.
Speed is of the essence amid signs oligarchs are already moving their assets out of London and other European capitals, as Brussels prepares to go further and impose wide-ranging embargos on defence, finance and energy deals.

The use of tougher sanctions has been pushed in an attempt to force President Putin to reign in the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
There are still concerns about access to the crash site of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight, shot down over eastern Ukraine.

The plane crash, and the outrage at the refusal of Russian-backed militias to release the bodies for four days, has increased tensions with Moscow.
EU officials are today preparing the list of businessmen and Moscow officials to be targeted by the sanctions. a deal agreed yesterday by foreign minister in Brussels, it will now include people and businesses who bankroll the Putin regime or benefit from proximity to it.
Asset freezes will mean they cannot move money in and out of bank accounts in Europe, or buy or sell shares or property held in the EU. Travel bans would stop them entering any EU country
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: ‘The word is 'cronies': the cronies of Mr Putin and his clique in the Kremlin are the people who have to bear the pressure.
‘If the financial interests of the group around the leadership are affected, the leadership will know about it.’
The names are expected to be signed off by EU ambassadors at a meeting tomorrow, before being rushed into law and made public as early as Saturday, diplomatic sources told MailOnline.
Officials say they will not publicise who will be targeted until sanctions are in place to prevent Mr Putin’s friends from rushing to move their money out of Europe.

However, Downing Street says there are already signs of oligarchs shifting assets out of the UK and other EU countries to pre-empt the imminent crackdown.
David Cameron’s official spokesman said: ‘The measures that have been taken with regard to individuals and entities has got a correlation with some of the financial flows we have seen across Europe, including here in London. That’s certainly the case.’
A meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels yesterday agreed to ‘accelerate’ targeted measures against entities and people, including from the Russian Federation.
The list will also be expand to target ‘individuals or entities who actively provide material or financial support to or are benefiting from the Russian decision makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of Eastern-Ukraine’.
A wider plan to adopt additional measures to restrict trade with and investment in Crimea and Sevastopol is expected to be agreed by the end of this month.
For the first time, the EU foreign ministers also agreed to push ahead with trade embargos with Russia.
After months of delay, the European Commission has been ordered to ‘finalise’ its preparatory work on possible targets and the details will be presented to tomorrow’s meeting of ambassadors.
It was seen as a major breakthrough, despite bitter divisions between EU leaders about which industries would be hit.
A Brussels source said: ‘We have definitely made progress. For months and months we have been saying the economic sanctions are in the offing, we have been saying prepare it, prepare it.
‘Yesterday we said get the stuff out of the drawer. It is the first time the position has been tightened.’
Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister, said: 'I think Europe has woken up. None of these things - capital markets, defence, dual use items, has ever been mentioned in EU documents.'
France has vowed to press ahead with the sale of two warships to Russia, despite Mr Cameron branding the move ‘unthinkable’.
Francois Hollande’s ruling Socialist Party has branded Britain ‘hypocrites’ for moving to block defence deals while hosting Russian oligarchs in London.
In a sign of the deep divisions in the EU, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite compared the French attitude to the appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
The outspoken critic of Putin said: 'If European states keep on acting so indecisively, this is a direct invitation for the aggressor to be more aggressive and go further,' she told LRT public radio.
'In 1930s Nazism wasn't stopped, and now aggressive Russian chauvinism isn't stopped and that resulted in the attack against a civilian plane.'

Mr Cameron this week called for an end to military sales to Russia from any country in the European Union.
Asked in the Commons if France should abandon its €1.2 billion for Mistral helicopter carriers, Mr Cameron said: 'Frankly in this country it would be unthinkable to fulfil an order like the one outstanding that the French have.
'But we need to put the pressure on with all our partners to say that we cannot go on doing business as usual with a country when it is behaving in this way.'
In response Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, head of Hollande's ruling Socialist Party, told i>Tele television: 'Hollande is not backing down. He is delivering the first (ship) despite the fact he is being asked not to.
'This is a false debate led by hypocrites ... When you see how many (Russian) oligarchs have sought refuge in London, David Cameron should start by cleaning up his own backyard.'
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius added: 'Dear British friends, let's talk about finance... I was led to believe that there were quite a few Russian oligarchs in London.'
The use of tougher sanctions has been pushed in an attempt to force President Putin to reign in the separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Today he said he would use his influence in the region, but said the West had to put pressure on Kiev to end the conflict.
Mr Putin said: 'We are being called on to use our influence with the separatists in southeastern Ukraine. We of course will do everything in our power but that is not nearly enough.
'Ultimately, there is a need to call on the authorities in Kiev to respect basic norms of decency, and at least for a short time implement a ceasefire,' he said.
Many countries in eastern Europe are fearful that cutting off energy supplies in particular will hit their domestic economies.
However, Downing Street insists that a package of sanctions across several sectors will ensure that the whole of Europe ‘takes a hit’ not just one or two countries.
The communique, agreed by all 28 countries, makes clear that economic sanctions will target access to capital markets, defence and dual use goods – harmless items which could be used to develop weapons - and ‘sensitive technologies, including in the energy sector’.
If agreement is reached tomorrow, European Council President Herman van Rompuy is poised to order an emergency meeting of EU leaders to sign it off.
Europe is coming under pressure to accelerate its sanctions from America, which has already added the names of cronies to its own lists.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters: 'Our willingness to consider adding additional costs is something that continues to be a live option.'
Britain has been leading the demands for tougher sanctions with the Netherlands - which suffered the heaviest losses in the MH17 atrocity - Germany, Sweden and Ukraine itself.
Ukranian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin: 'We need not just tough talking, but we also need bold action by the European Union.
'I believe that in these circumstance arms and weapon supplies to Russia is also against the EU code of conduct.'
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte: ‘We want justice, a united European Union approach and pressure on Russia to do more. Our priorities are getting our people back, an independent investigation, and justice.’
Topic edited 1 times, last edit by RouTe, 24 July 2014, 0:01  

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