Sturgeon seeks urgent advice on taking action against Russians linked to Putin

The First Minister said she wants to know the ‘maximum possible action’ the Scottish Government can take.

03 March 2022

Nicola Sturgeon has sought urgent advice on the “maximum possible action” the Scottish Government can take against individuals and organisations linked to Vladimir Putin’s Russia who have connections to Scotland.

The First Minister said she is seeking to discover what powers ministers at Holyrood have with regard to those with “close links with the Russian regime”.

This will consider whether the Scottish Government can step in to freeze or seize any assets in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said.

She revealed the move as Scottish Green Ross Greer told MSPs that the Aberuchill estate in Perthshire owned by Russian oligarch Vladimir Lisin had received almost £700,000 in agricultural subsidies between 2016 and 2019.

The wealthy Russian is on the US Treasury Department’s list of “known Kremlin associates”, Mr Greer said.

Raising the issue at First Minister’s Questions, he asked Ms Sturgeon if she would “urgently review the agricultural payment system and any other relevant payment system to ensure no member of the Russian elite, no Kremlin associate, is in receipt of public money here in Scotland”.

Ms Sturgeon said she will make sure that happens as she told MSPs: “I have sought urgent advice on the maximum possible action that the Scottish Government can take within our powers against individuals and entities identifying as having close links with the Russian regime, whether or not they are currently on the UK sanctions list.

“Options that will be examined include, but are not limited to, ending the support from the public purse or freezing or seizing assets in Scotland, where that is possible.”

The action came as Ms Sturgeon pledged: “The Scottish Government and our economic agencies will not support trade and investment activity with Russia.”

Ross Greer said almost £700,000 in subsidies has been awarded to an estate in Scotland owned by a Russian oligarch (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

Meanwhile, Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes has sent an open letter to Scotland’s business community asking it to show solidarity with Ukraine by ending any links with Russia.

Ms Forbes said: “We all have a moral duty right now to consider what else we can do to try to stop Putin’s aggression, including via economic action.”

She praised the “commendable corporate values” of firms which have already acted.

She added: “Beyond direct investments, reviewing operations for links and connections to Russia – however indirect – and then severing them is the right decision.

“I welcome the effort being undertaken right now by businesses across Scotland to do exactly that, and encourage them to continue to conduct this work at pace.”

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