I refer to this Q&A in Stackexchange: Legality of penalising Russian Oligarchs by ConanTheGerbil. There's some good info there but I have some follow-up questions.

Q1. Burden of Proof.
If a court has to review the case, who has the burden of proof (Govt?) and what is that burden ("a preponderance" or "beyond a reasonable doubt")? Can the Govt seize property before the Court finds in its favor, or only after? What kind of evidence would the Minister need to prove his case? The law says the Minister has to prove "the person is responsible for, engages in, provides support for, or promotes any policy or action which destabilises Ukraine . . ." Besides a confession, the only types of possible direct evidence seem to be eyewitness testimony or some kind of documentary or physical evidence (like emails or a recording of a conversation). In the case of Russian govt officials, there probably are incriminating emails but how would the Minister obtain them? At least in the case of the businessmen that could be targeted, it seems unlikely that kind of evidence would exist or be obtainable by the Minister. Or will the status of being a billionaire in Russia be itself evidence enough?

Q2. Sanctions on "controlled" companies.
If Roman Abramovich or Alexander Nesis are deemed by the Minister to be "oligarchs" and subject to the law, could the Minister apply full blocking sanctions against publicly-listed companies that they are significant owners of? Such as Evraz and Polymetal, of which I think they own about 30% and 25%, respectively? Or only if they own 50% or more? Which seemed to the basis in the US for fully sanctioning Rusal as part of sanctioning Oleg Deripaska.

1 Answer 1


Q1: The determination of eligibility is a political and diplomatic decision, not a legal one based upon evidence presented in an adversarial proceeding (which is the norm in matters of international law and national security). The government doesn't have to prove anything to anyone but itself.

Q2: This is also a political and diplomatic decision made on a case by case basis. The decision to sanction a firm can be made independently of its connection to natural persons who are sanctioned.

  • 1
    Yes, the Minister's initial decision is a political decision. But Og8219 provided a detailed answer to a related q on the Legality of the UK Sanctions in which Og8219 says the Minister's initial decision can be challenged by the accused and is then subject to judicial review. In a judicial review, the judicial branch can't just defer to the executive branch. Perhaps, the standard is more of an administrative law standard.
    – nynylawlaw
    Mar 5, 2022 at 6:09

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