The government has promised Vladimir Putin’s cronies total privacy if they launch a legal bid to be removed from the UK’s sanctions list.

The Foreign Office said it would be a “breach of confidence” to name the Russians trying to have their sanctions overturned or the law firms representing them.

But openDemocracy can reveal that one such individual is Alisher Usmanov, the billionaire former Everton Football Club sponsor, who was sanctioned last year when the British government accused him of having “close links to the Kremlin”.

A spokesperson for Usmanov, who made his fortune through a Russian mining company, has confirmed he has deployed legal teams to try to reverse the move.

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