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Evraz directors quit in wake of UK sanctions

All the non-executives of Evraz have quit as directors with immediate effect from the London-listed steel group in which Roman Abramovich is the largest shareholder.

The company’s shares were suspended on Thursday after the UK hit the Russian oligarch and a number of others with sanctions. The Financial Conduct Authority said it was suspending trading in the shares “in order to protect investors pending clarification of the impact of the UK sanctions”.

The 10 board members who have quit are Alexander Abramov, Alexander Frolov, Alexander Izosimov, Deborah Gudgeon, Eugene Shvidler, Eugene Tenenbaum, Karl Gruber, Maria Gordon, Sir Michael Peat and Stephen Odell, Evraz said in a statement on Friday.

City mining veteran James Rutherford, who joined as a non-executive director last June, resigned last week in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

Chief executive Aleksey Ivanov, who was promoted to the post in September, will continue as a director. He joined the board in February.

The UK government has accused Abramovich, who also holds Israeli and Portuguese citizenship, of having been involved in “destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine via Evraz”.

The government also accused the company of providing steel to make tanks for the Russian military — something that Evraz has denied. The company insisted on Thursday that it only made steel for the “infrastructure and construction” sectors.

Evraz has in recent days tried to distance itself from Abramovich, pointing out that, despite his controlling shareholding, he only appointed two out of the board’s 11 directors in the past five years. It also cancelled a shareholder payout that would have been worth more than $200mn to the oligarch.

Evraz is one of the world’s largest steelmakers, with operations in Russia, Kazakhstan, the US and Canada.

It was one of the first Russian companies to be admitted to the blue-chip FTSE 100 index when it listed in 2011. It had been registered in Luxembourg and already had global depositary receipts traded on the London Stock Exchange, but shifted its base to London ahead of the listing.

Abramovich first bought into Evraz in the mid-2000s when he acquired a 40 per cent stake for more than $3bn.

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