Sanctioned Russian Businessmen Banned from Davos Forum

A trio of Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the United States have been asked not to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Switzerland’s Davos in January, a Russian state-owned bank reported, according to The Financial Times.

Andrei Kostin, the chief of VTB bank and an ally of President Vladimir Putin, “had a discussion” with WEF founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, “and he is aware of this decision,” VTB said in a statement on November 6.

The forum’s annual meeting in Davos is attended by international political and business leaders.

“Mr. Kostin will lay out his position on this issue in the form of an open letter to forum participants in the future,” the statement said, without giving details.

The statement came after the Financial Times reported that Kostin, as well as billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, had essentially been barred from attending the Davos gathering.

The decision was made under pressure from Washington, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources familiar with the issue.

Spokespersons for Deripaska and Vekselberg did not issue an immediate comment.

The tycoons were sanctioned by the U.S. earlier this year as Washington seeks to punish Russia for what it calls “malign activities,” including alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The three are believed to be close to Putin and attended the forum in the past.