Ex-Yandex chief takes EU to court over sanctions

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The former head of Russia’s biggest tech company Yandex Tigran Khudaverdyan has disputed sanctions against him for the war in Ukraine before a court of the European Union.

Khudaverdyan filed a complaint on June 7 asking the European Council to lift its “discriminatory and disproportionate” sanctions against him. The trial was first reported by the RTVI television channel on Monday evening.

Khudaverdian leave as executive director and deputy chief executive of Yandex in March after being hit with an asset freeze and an EU travel ban. At the time, Brussels accused Yandex, often dubbed “Russia’s Google”, of manipulating search results and “hiding information” from the Russian public.

But, in the court filing, Khudaverdyan argued that he “does not support the actions of the government of the Russian Federation regarding interventions in Ukraine.”

Khudaverdyan served as the de facto head of Yandex for several years, while founder Arkady Volozh officially remained the company’s CEO. Volozh leave in June after being the target of European sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.

Yandex itself is unaffected by Western sanctions, although its shares have plummeted since the fighting began.

As well as being Russia’s largest search engine, Yandex’s sprawling business empire spans taxi services, e-commerce, fast food delivery, online education and a host of other high technology.

At least 20 Russian billionaires have launched legal challenges against EU sanctions imposed after the invasion, Bloomberg reported At the beginning of June.

More than 1,000 Russians, including President Vladimir Putin, are on the EU sanctions list.

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