FIE President Alisher Usmanov could be sanctioned by the UK Government ©Getty Images

Politicians have urged the United Kingdom Government to issue sanctions against International Fencing Federation (FIE) President Alisher Usmanov after he was named by jailed Russian politician Alexei Navalny as "one of the key enablers and beneficiaries of Russian kleptocracy." 

Earlier this month, Navalny ally Vladimir Ashurkov published a list of eight individuals Navalny wanted to see punished by the international community.

He claimed the "West must sanction the decision makers and the people who hold their money" if penalties against Russia are to be effective.

Usmanov and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich were among the list of eight individuals. 

Labour's Dame Margaret Hodge and Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokeswoman Layla Moran both urged the UK Government to take action against the figures named by Navalny. 

"The best way in which we can show our support for Alexei Navalny is not by words but by actions, not by investigations but by convictions," Dame Margaret said during a session in the House of Commons. 

"Navalny himself has said that he wants the international community to use sanctions against complicit Russian kleptocrats who live outside Russia. 

"He has named Abramovich and Usmanov, both of whom have considerable wealth, property and links to English football clubs.

"But on Facebook Navalny has said that the sanctions haven't worked because 'the West has refrained from sanctioning the people with the money'." 

"Is that true?"

Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton claimed the Government was "considering all options" in her reply. 

"We continue to work and protect human rights and civil society in Russia," Morton said. 

"We are considering all options for further action but, as I've previously said, it'd be inappropriate for me to speculate on any future listings."

Labour's Dame Margaret Hodge was among those to urge the UK Government to sanction the individuals listed by Alexei Navalny ©Getty Images
Labour's Dame Margaret Hodge was among those to urge the UK Government to sanction the individuals listed by Alexei Navalny ©Getty Images

Government Ministers have the power to impose travel bans and freeze the financial assets of those involved in cases where human rights are abused. 

Navalny was arrested in Russia on January 17, having returned to the country from Germany where he had spent months recovering from a near-fatal nerve agent attack.

Prosecutors claimed the leading Russian opposition figure violated the terms of a suspended sentence for embezzlement, but Navalny's supporters have dismissed these charges as being politically motivated.

Navalny branded his detention "blatantly illegal" in a videolink appeal hearing, which was rejected by the judge. 

It was after Navalny was detained that Ashurkov published a list of eight people it is claimed should be sanctioned, including Usmanov.

The 67-year-old Russian oligarch has been FIE President since 2008 and will remain in the post until at least November because an Elective Congress set to be held in Moscow last year was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Usmanov has donated a significant amount of money to the global governing body since assuming power - roughly CHF80 million (£66 million/$90 million/€74 million) over the course of three Olympic cycles to 2020, insidethegames previously calculated.

Last year, Usmanov paid $8,806,500 (£6,440,413/€7,261,795) to buy the historic manuscript in which Baron Pierre de Coubertin laid out plans to revive the Olympic Games, and has since donated the artefact to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. 

Outside of the Olympic Movement, Usmanov has ties to Premier League football club Everton as USM - a holding company founded by Usmanov - holds the naming rights to Everton's new stadium once built.

USM chairman Farhad Moshiri is the majority owner of Everton.

Navalny's list of individuals also includes two Russian Ministers and Andrey Kostin, President of the state-owned VTB Bank.   

Usmanov successfully sued Navalny for libel in 2017, and a Russian court ordered that Navalny delete certain statements from the internet.