Billionaire calls out Putin in bid to be removed from Canada’s Russia sanctions list – National

Billionaire who wants off Canada’s Russia sanctions list denounces Putin - National

“A Billionaire’s Battle: The Story of Igor Makarov and Canada’s Sanctions”

In a world where politics and wealth collide, one billionaire’s attempt to clear his name and escape the grasp of sanctions has shed light on the complexities of international relations and personal allegiances.

Denouncing Putin: A Bold Move

Igor Makarov, a billionaire oil and gas magnate, found himself on Canada’s sanctions list in 2022 due to his alleged ties to the Russian regime and his involvement in the invasion of Ukraine. In a three-page statement to the Canadian government, Makarov boldly condemned Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine war, hoping to persuade officials to lift the sanctions that had caused him significant financial harm.

His statement, signed in Cyprus where he holds citizenship, called Putin’s actions “outrageous” and “illegal,” emphasizing his strong opposition to the Russian president’s regime. Despite his efforts to distance himself from Putin, Makarov’s plea fell on deaf ears as Canada remained skeptical of his motives and rejected his appeal for de-listing.

The Complicated Relationship Between Wealth and Power

As the case of Igor Makarov unfolds, it raises important questions about the criteria for removing individuals from a country’s sanctions list. Makarov, once considered one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals, insists he is not an oligarch and denies any close ties to the Kremlin. However, Canadian government documents suggest otherwise, painting him as a “typical Russian oligarch” who benefited from connections to Russian officials and autocrats.

The Power of Public Denouncement

One of the key factors in Canada’s decision to keep Makarov on the sanctions list was his perceived lack of public denouncement of Putin and the Russian regime. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly emphasized the importance of unequivocal and public statements denouncing Putin as a way for individuals like Makarov to demonstrate their distancing from the regime. Without such denouncements, Makarov’s claims of opposition to the war in Ukraine and the Russian regime were deemed not credible enough to warrant his removal from the sanctions list.

A Loophole in the Law

Makarov’s case also revealed a loophole in Canada’s sanctions law, which previously only applied to Russian citizens and residents. By giving up his Russian citizenship and relying on his Cypriot nationality, Makarov was able to temporarily evade sanctions before the law was amended to include former Russian nationals. This loophole allowed oligarchs like Makarov to skirt around sanctions by simply falling back onto a second citizenship, raising questions about the effectiveness of such punitive measures.

In Conclusion

The story of Igor Makarov and his battle to be removed from Canada’s sanctions list serves as a microcosm of the intricate dance between wealth, power, and politics on the world stage. While his denouncement of Putin and claims of opposition to the Russian regime were not enough to sway Canadian officials, the case highlights the complexities and challenges of international sanctions and the need for transparency and accountability in the process. As governments around the world grapple with how to hold individuals accountable for their actions, the story of Igor Makarov offers a glimpse into the private battles that shape global diplomacy and the pursuit of justice.



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