On 26 October 2015, the CJEU annulled the listing of Andriy Portnov in Case T-290/14 Andriy Portnov v Council of the European Union (judgment not yet available in English), removing the asset freeze imposed on him. This was the first judgment of the CJEU dealing with the EU’s Ukraine sanctions regime.
Portnov, a former adviser to ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, had already been removed from the list on 5 March 2015 by Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/357, but the CJEU annulled his listing, finding that the basis for his inclusion on the list did not “satisfy the criteria” for designating persons whose funds are to be frozen. The Council had relied solely upon a March 2014 letter from the Ukrainian Public Prosecutor’s Office stating that the investigation into Portnov and others had “made it possible to establish misappropriation of […] State funds”. However, the letter failed to provide sufficiently specific details about Portnov. The CJEU held that the EU had failed to conduct its own independent analysis into whether Portnov had satisfied the criteria for listing.
The judgment is significant for other individuals with pending challenges to their EU listings where they were made subject to restrictive measures on similar grounds.