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MALTATODAY 27 March 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 27 MARCH 2022 NEWS AN UNFORGETTABLE EASTER EXPERIENCE For more information: The Imperial, Rudolph Street, Sliema, SLM 1279 | 2145 6440 | A member of St George's Care Limited Experience an Easter with a difference and get to know our home better. A fourteen night stay, on full board basis, at The Imperial Sliema, for only €500 per person. This special package, available throughout April, includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and accommodation, daily room cleaning and linen change, as well as use of all in-house facilities including gym and heated indoor pool. We also offer rehabilitation and physiotherapy packages, respite care and paid parking. During the stay all our guests will be able to participate in our Holy Week activities and Easter Celebration in a truly exclusive and wonderful environment that will make you feel right at home. An original and truly unique gift for you or your elderly relatives. 16 MATTHEW AGIUS A Russian billionaire with close links to Vladimir Putin could have used a strawman so as to avoid scrutiny in Malta due to Crimea-related sanctions he was under. Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend and judo sparring part- ner of the Russian president, was placed under sanctions in 2014 after the Russian inva- sion of Crimea as owner of PS- JC Mosotrest, a company that built the Kerch Bridge between Russia and Crimea, which Rus- sia has used to help claim sov- ereignty over the region that it invaded in 2014. But in 2016, he won a case in the EU's General Court to have the sanctions lifted after the European Commission failed to demonstrate his association with people responsible for un- dermining Ukraine's territorial integrity. The sanctions against Roten- berg were subsequently re- instated through a European Council regulation implement- ed on 13 March 2017. Malta's Sanctions Monitoring Board claims Rotenberg's ves- sel, the M/Y Rahil, was regis- tered in Malta in 2016. But the lawyers who regis- tered the boat are contend- ing that documentation they received for due diligence on the Rahil showed no links to Rotenberg, pointing out that the vessel was owned by a cer- tain Aleksander Kozlov, apart from being registered in 2016 when Rotenberg was not under sanctions. The lawyers, Cedric and Mal- colm Mifsud, are challenging an €800 fine by the SMB for the yacht registration. As registered agents, the law- yers are limited to represent- ing the vessel for the purpose of filing documentation with Transport Malta, which in it- self is not a relevant activity for the purposes of due diligence. The lawyers' client was not the sanctioned person, and in court they criticised the SMB for issuing a fine on the basis of correspondence the lawyers had not received, and without first disclosing any intelligence possibly contradicting their documents. The original SMB letter had been sent without checking whether Rotenberg was still under sanctions. The SMB insists there is a "publicly available" link be- tween Medexlite Ltd's sole di- rector Dismak Services, that company's sole director Ele- ni Andronikou, and company structures belonging to Roten- berg. A judge has now agreed with the plaintiffs that they have the right to request judicial review of the SMB's decision in court. The plaintiffs accused the SMB of sending correspond- ence about its investigation to the wrong company, and of failing to inform them of the investigation before declaring them in breach and imposing the fine. A spokesperson for the law- yers told MaltaToday the case has serious implications for Malta's shipping industry and that their contention is not about the paltry fine. "We are fighting for the entire indus- try, as they have done the same thing to other practitioners, who chose to pay the relative- ly small fine and carry on. We pride ourselves in our correct- ness." Sanctions board accused of wrongly fining firm over Russian billionaire's yacht Arkady Rotenberg (right) is a close friend and judo sparring partner of the Russian president

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