ECJ annuls sanctions on Dmitry Pumpyansky, the ex-chair of Russia's TMK

The Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow

By Julia Payne

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Dmitry Pumpyansky, the billionaire former chairman of Russian steel pipe maker TMK, no longer warrants being on the EU's sanctions list related to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday.

The EU has imposed sanctions on over 2,200 people and entities relating to Russia since 2014, which includes travel bans and asset freezes. The annulment is the latest in a series of high profile cases.

The Luxembourg-based court similarly annulled the listings of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman and his business partner Petr Aven in April this year.

Pumpyansky was first listed in March 2022 when he was the chairman of a global steel pipe manufacturer TMK and president and board member of Sinara, a Russian investment bank.

In its initial listing, the Council alleged "both companies support and benefit from cooperation with authorities of Russian Federation and State-owned enterprises, including Russian railways, Gazprom and Rosneft", which provide substantial revenues to Moscow.

In its ruling, the court said the Council failed to substantiate Pumpyansky's significance in Russia after he left his two key roles.

"(Pumpyansky) adds that, since he sold his shares in TMK and Group Sinara in March 2022, he is now merely a private individual and no longer involved in any business activity in Russia or elsewhere, with the result that he cannot be classified as a ‘leading businessperson’ within the meaning of that criterion," the court said in the ruling.

"The Council has not produced sound and consistent evidence ... links with TMK and Group Sinara as well as with economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation."

The court also ordered the Council of the European Union to cover the Pumpyansky' costs relating to the case.

(Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Alison Williams)