VTB Bank CEO Andrey Kostin, Rusal co-owner Oleg Deripaska and Renova Group major shareholder Viktor Vekselberg will not be allowed to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos this year.
All three of the Russian oligarchs, who are under personal US sanctions, were contacted by the forum’s management and asked not to come to the town in eastern Switzerland where officials and representatives of the largest companies in the world have been gathering since 1971.
Last year, Vekselberg, Kostin and Deripaska entertained Davos with a party with sparkling wine, Russian folk dances and a performance by Enrique Iglesias. This year, they were notified that despite the fact that personal sanctions do not prevent them from visiting Switzerland, their attendance is undesirable, two informed sources told the Financial Times.
One source clarified that the forum’s organizers were pressurized by the US government to take this step.
Deripaska had no intention of traveling to Davos this year anyway, a source close to the Russian billionaire told RBC. Deripaska’s aluminum empire has been on the verge of collapse following US sanctions on Rusal. In order to save the company from sanctions, he pulled out of the business, and now it would make no sense for him to participate in the forum, the source noted.
The US imposed sanctions on Deripaska (worth $6.7 billion according to Forbes), Vekselberg ($14.4 billion) and Kostin in April. The sanctions list contained 26 individuals and 15 companies. The restrictions, which include a ban on entering the US and the freezing of all assets there, are a response to the Kremlin’s policy towards Ukraine and Syria, as well as its cyberattacks aimed at “undermining western democracy”.