Russian oligarch and former head of Russia’s Alfa Bank, Petr Aven has responded to threats made by Latvia’s security service to strip him of his Latvian citizenship, saying that he considers the Baltic state to be his home.
Speaking to Latvia’s TV3 Ziņas, Aven said that his family is “historically linked to Latvia”, with his relatives being laid to rest in the country as far back as the 18th century. He added that a church he paid to have restored “contains all the records” of his relatives from that period. “My son is also a Latvian citizen, he goes to school and proudly wears the Latvian symbols of his sports club,” Aven said.
Stressing that he had resigned from all his posts at Alfa Bank in March 2022, Aven said he had now been waiting for Cyprus to greenlight the sale of his Russian business for a year, during which time he has been living and paying taxes in Latvia
Last week, the US imposed sanctions on Petr Aven alongside Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, and Alexey Kuzmichev, the co-founders of Alfa Bank’s parent company Alfa Group. The Latvian Constitution Protection Bureau said it would take the sanctions decision into account in its report on the possible revocation of Aven’s citizenship.
In February, reports emerged that the Latvian security services were investigating whether there were grounds to rescind Aven’s Latvian passport.
In April 2022, the Latvian parliament adopted a bill granting the authorities the power to revoke the citizenship of anyone supporting the actions of other countries aimed at undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty, or independence of democratic states as long as they possess a second passport.