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Czech Republic Can Now Expel Family of Russian Arms Dealer

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At the NATO summit in Vilnius, President Petr Pavel faced questions regarding the Czech Republic’s stance on intervening against Boris Obnosov, the head of the Russian arms holding company Takticheskoye Raketnoye Vooruzheniye (KTRV), and his family. President Pavel stated that the current legislation did not permit such intervention. However, this is no longer the case. A recent decision by the EU Council has expanded the scope of sanctions to include not only Russian companies but also their top executives and individuals with economic ties to them.

In early June, the EU Council discreetly resolved that sanctions initially imposed in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea could also be extended to company executives and their family members. The European Union believes that “Russian businessmen systematically distribute their funds and assets among their immediate family members and others” as a means to conceal assets and evade existing sanctions.

The Regulation has been amended to encompass “leading businessmen operating in Russia and their immediate family members or other natural persons who benefit from their association, as well as businessmen, legal persons, entities, and bodies engaged in economic sectors that provide significant sources of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation.”

Being included on the sanctions list implies a prohibition on entering the Czech Republic and the restriction of financial transactions involving Czech entities, including the freezing of assets within the country.

At the NATO summit, Mariya Pevchikhova, the head of the investigative team at the Alexei Navalny Anti-Corruption Fund, specifically raised the issue of Boris Obnosov with President Pavel. The President inaccurately claimed that there was no legal framework allowing the Czech Republic to expel or seize the assets of these individuals but stated that efforts were being made to find a solution. The recently adopted regulation on sanctions lists should address this matter.

It has been revealed that Obnosov’s son-in-law, Rostislav Zorikov, has been a permanent resident of the Czech Republic for several years and possesses significant assets valued at over CZK 100 million. While the KTRV holding company is on the EU sanctions list, its head, Obnosov, remains unaffected. The Anti-Corruption Fund has uncovered that Obnosov’s daughter, Marija, and her husband, Zorikov, own a 20 percent stake in KTRV Holding.

The fund also highlighted an incident where Zorikov was reported to have assaulted an activist from the Russian anti-war movement Vesna. A video documenting the altercation was provided, although its authenticity and the timing of the incident could not be independently verified. The police and Foreign Ministry have refrained from commenting on the matter, confirming only that there was an altercation between the two individuals.

Czech diplomacy has long advocated for expanding the sanctions lists to include cases like that of Obnosov. However, State Department spokesman Daniel Drake declined to comment on the next steps to be taken in response to this situation.

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