Economy, Russia-Ukraine War

Sibur's former CEO says sanctions against him have 'no factual or legal basis'

Dmitry Konov says his lawyers filed 'observations' with Council of EU, asking it to reassess its position

Emre Gurkan Abay   | 16.06.2022
Sibur's former CEO says sanctions against him have 'no factual or legal basis'

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia

Dmitry Konov, the former chief executive officer of Russian petrochemicals manufacturer Sibur, said the European Union's personal sanctions against him have "no factual or legal basis."

"My lawyers have filed 'observations' with the Council of the European Union, asking it to reassess its position," Konov told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

"They have also appealed as well the personal sanctions against me in the EU General Court in Luxembourg as having 'no factual or legal basis,'" he said.

"Sibur is a private company, and the arguments of the European Commission about me having been employed by the company, which is providing a substantial source of revenue to the (Russian) government and thus is responsible for the destabilization of Ukraine, are not valid," he added.

Noting that Sibur's taxes are paid mostly in the regions where the Russian petrochemicals company operates, he said he hopes the Council will reconsider its position and his rights will be protected by European law.

Konov said he does not "own much" in Europe, adding: "It's a matter of principle. It's not fair."

He also said the sanctions against him are "emotionally difficult" for him since he has been educated and worked for some time in Europe.

"I don't feel the grounds justifying inclusion on the list, to be fair," he said.

'Strange way to appreciate all my efforts'

Reiterating that it is unfair to be "punished" for doing his managerial job "in the right way," Konov said: "I have always behaved in a loyal and honorable manner while leading Sibur."

"I was awarded the Order of the Star of Italy (Ordine della Stella d'Italia) for my participation in developing the business dialogue between Sibur and its Italian partners," he said.

"I have made Sibur a company that complies with international standards, especially in terms of environmental and social norms. Sibur's products satisfy the demand of customers, especially those in the European Union."

Konov said he has been one of the governors of the World Economic Forum's Committee for Chemistry and Advanced Materials since 2016.

"It's a strange way to appreciate all my efforts to make the world a better place!" he said.

Asked about his opinion on the recent sanctions against Russia as a whole over the war in Ukraine and whether it could be an aim to create unfair market competition, Konov said: "Overall, sanctions are a doubtful instrument."

Victim of EU trade restrictions

The "biggest problem" has been that the EU sanctions banned European companies from supplying technological equipment to Russia and European funding, Konov said, regarding the company's estimated loss.

"Most of Sibur's products exports to Europe fell victim to EU trade restrictions with Russia," he said.

"It is reasonable to assume that the company shall be in search of alternative export destinations, while Sibur's European customers -- although very satisfied with Sibur's products in terms of price and quality -- will suffer from the current situation."

"Still, neither Sibur nor the European companies should reproach themselves for this," he added.

Noting that EU trade restrictions forced Sibur to cut exports to Europe, which accounted for 23% of the company's revenue, he said the sanctions have pushed the company to redirect sales volumes to other regions.

Asked whether Türkiye is one of the markets that the company focused on after the restrictions, he said: "Türkiye has already been a significant market for Sibur, accounting for 6% of its sales."

"The importance of the Turkish market may increase, backed by growing demand for plastics, which are widely used in packaging to car-making, and maleic anhydride (MAN), а raw material for films, synthetic fibers and detergents," he added.

* Beyza Binnur Donmez from Ankara contributed to this story

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