Russian delegation heading to Davos after sanctioned oligarchs allowed in

AFP - [email protected] • 18 Dec, 2018 Updated Tue 18 Dec 2018 10:48 CEST
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The World Economic Forum said on Monday that it had reached an agreement to allow sanctioned Russian tycoons to attend next month's Davos meeting, clearing Moscow to also send a full government delegation


Russia warned last month that it would not send a delegation to the luxury Swiss ski resort town to mingle with the global business elite in January if top Russian oligarchs facing US sanctions were kept out.

The pressure appeared to work, with WEF announcing the sanctioned tycoons would now be welcome to attend the conference.

Read also: What you need to know about the WEF in Davos - Switzerland's biggest business bash

"I am pleased that after discussions with all relevant parties, careful consideration of international legal frameworks and strong support from the Swiss government, we are able to host business and political leaders from all G20 countries," said Alois Zwinggi, WEF's head of compliance, in a statement sent to the AFP news agency on Monday.

He stressed that this was "essential", since to "address the pressing global challenges, we need all relevant parties at the Annual Meeting."

Following the shift, he said WEF was "pleased to learn that Russia also will send a high level governmental delegation to Davos."

"Should the delegation include individuals under sanction, all necessary measures have been undertaken to ensure that their presence would be fully compliant with current legal conditions," he added.

Moscow hailed the news.

"We welcome the fact that the Davos Economic Forum and its leaders have heard our position," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. But while Peskov confirmed that the government would resume preparations for the forum, he said was too early to say who will head the Russian delegation.

He spoke after The Bell, a respected Russian media outlet, reported that Kremlin-backed tycoons Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg and Andrei Kostin would be allowed to take part in the forum, but only on a number of conditions developed with the help of US lawyers.

Read also: Trump sends personal thank you note to Swiss police chief

Those conditions reportedly include not permitting any payments related to the tycoons to go through US banks, and blocking them from taking part in any meetings organised by Americans at the forum.

"Contacts with American entrepreneurs can be easily replaced by entrepreneurs from other countries," Peskov said when asked to comment on the reported conditions.

Spokespeople for the three tycoons, who were hit with US sanctions earlier this year, have yet to comment on the development or say whether they will attend the meeting.

Read also: Russian agents planned to spy on Swiss chemicals lab - report



AFP 2018/12/18 10:48

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