EU may lift sanctions against Farkhad Akhmedov


EU sanctions against Russian businessman of Azerbaijani origin Farkhad Akhmedov may be lifted very soon, US-based publication OilPrice said.

The entrepreneur was included in the European Union sanctions list back in April 2022 due to the fact that he was allegedly 'close to the Kremlin.' However, after he sold his stake in Northgas to Novatek in 2012, Akhmedov spends very little time in Russia.

The entrepreneur can be seen as a so-called 'self-made man'. He is one of the few major businessmen in the country who's made his fortune not by participation in loans-for-shares auctions or developing connections with the government authorities, but due to his determination and perseverance. The rumors about his 'connections' with the Kremlin do not correspond to reality, although they fit into the typical 'oligarch' stereotype. In reality, Akhmedov has been building his business on his own since the mid-nineties by raising Northgas at the expense of his own investments. After he had studied to be a veterinarian in Moscow, he started selling sables in the UK until the local greens began to advocate a ban on the fur trade. Akhmedov switched his career to the oil supplies.

He was almost the first who began to export all the gas condensate, in return supplying oil and gas equipment for the largest Russian companies: Urengoygazprom, Nadymgazprom, Yamburgdobychagazprom. Subsequently, he became interest in working with the Russian gas. Akhmedov created, in fact, the first independent gas company in Russia — Northgas. Severe weather conditions in Siberia, the collapse of industry in the country, financial crisis, high levels of uncertainty and the need to take risks — in such harsh conditions, Akhmedov's business empire was forged. He was never given money on a silver platter.

Apparently due to his business nature, Akhmedov did not fit into the wheels of state, although for several years he worked as a senator from the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and from the Krasnodar Krai, where, thanks to him, the first gondola lifts were built in Krasnaya Polyana. The sale of the business and him leaving Russia once again indicate that he was not maintaining a good relationship in the highest levels of government.

He would never have sold his gas brainchild — the Northgas company — if not for pressure and arm-twisting from the gas monopoly. As it turned out, since 2017, Akhmedov no longer holds Russian stocks in his portfolio. A small plant growing business is nothing more than an amateur hobby of a businessman, given his experience in business.

After being included in the sanctions list, what was obviously done without any justification, the businessman filed a lawsuit with the European Court to lift the sanctions on the grounds that he had not held public office in Russia for a long time and had no connections with the country's top leadership. Finally, it seems that that they've begun to realize that the sanctions against Akhmedov had been imposed on the basis of outdated information, so the entrepreneur really has a very high chance of winning the lawsuit.

The case of Farkhad Akhmedov shows that the entrepreneurs who have made their capital by their own efforts, apparently, can still count on a fair treatment in European courts. After updating the data on Farkhad Akhmedov, the European officials and began to see the situation as it is. The businessman has not lived in Russia for a long time and his "political connections" could not be found, since they do not exist.

To be honest, it is wrong to say that Farkhad Akhmedov is an oligarch. Oligarchs, by definition, create their capital by being close to the authorities. The sanctions of the European Union were directed exactly against these people. Since the European sanctions are political in nature, Mr. Akhmedov has ended up on the sanctions list by mistake. But this mistake of the European bureaucracy, most likely, will be corrected in September.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov