Russian steelmaker Evraz said ten of its board members had quit today after the firm’s largest shareholder Roman Abramovich was hit with sanctions, leaving only their chief executive remaining in post.
The UK government froze Abramovich's assets yesterday which sent Evraz’s share price plummeting, resulting in the London Stock Exchange suspending trading in the firm.
Evraz confirmed in a statement issued today that all its non-executive directors had resigned with “immediate effect” and that it was “deeply concerned and saddened by the Ukraine-Russia conflict and hopes that a peaceful resolution will be found soon”.
The mass exodus piles further pressure on the firm after Culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced yesterday that Abramamovich, who owns a 28.6 per cent stake in Evraz, would be slapped with sanctions along with six others.
The government said he had destabilised Ukraine through his “effective control” of the company which, it said, may have supplied steel to the Russian military for use in the production of tanks.
Evraz has rejected the suggestion that Abramovich had control of the firm because his holding was less than 50 per cent, and commented he had no right to appoint or remove the majority of the board.
The move has also effectively now left Chelsea football club in limbo with Abramovich now unable to push through his planned sale of the club who are now banned from selling tickets and unable to conduct any transfer business.
Government is now looking to widen the net on sanctions and plans to push through the Economic Crime Bill next week which will allow it to potentially hit more Russian oligarchs with sanctions.