Amid reports of his detention, Mikhail Fridman told journalists that he’s “meeting friends” for the weekend
Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman told Forbes Russia on Saturday that he is “fine,” and is meeting friends this weekend. Earlier, reports named Fridman as the “wealthy Russian” arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) in London.
The NCA announced on Saturday that it had raided the home of “a wealthy Russian businessman,” and that the unnamed suspect had been charged with money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the Home Office. Two unnamed associates of the 58-year-old suspect were also arrested, and all three were released on bail, the NCA stated.
The raid was carried out by an NCA unit formed in February to combat alleged sanctions evasion by Russian “elites” in the UK.
In a short statement to the magazine, Fridman, who is 58 and lives in London, said that he was “fine,” adding: “I’m meeting friends on the weekend.”
Fridman’s statement comes amid conflicting reports about the Alfa Group co-founder’s situation. Earlier, a source close to Fridman told Russia’s TASS news agency that he “has been arrested by the police. But, according to our information, he has been released on bail so far.”
On the other hand, Alfa Bank’s-press department told Kommersant that Fridman had “nothing to do with this story,” and “is at home, not under arrest.”
Fridman left Russia shortly after the beginning of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. Although he publicly called for an end to the conflict and insisted that he had no “personal ties to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” he was sanctioned by both the EU and UK and had all of his foreign assets frozen.