Sanctions Threaten LN Helsinki Shows

One of the side effects of America’s financial sanctions against Russia may make it harder for Live Nation Finland to do business with Helsinki’s , according to Financial Times


Gennady Timchenko and Arkady and Boris Rotenburg, the three Russian businessman who last July bought the 14,000-capacity building from Harry Harkimo’s Jokerit Holdings, are on a White House list of 27 people named as being closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin personally or politically.

The sanctions against the Russian businessmen were brought in as a reaction to Putin’s decision to annex Crimea. Basically, they mean Live Nation or any other U.S. corporation or individual is effectively barred from doing business with these people.

USA Today reported that LN plans to make sure the sanctions are upheld, although it may also be checking if it can get a special dispensation to continue doing business with the Hartwall.

“We are examining the possibility whether this could have an impact on the shows by American artists at this venue,” Live Nation Finland chief exec Nina Castren told NBC News. “We do not know yet if they will have to be canceled but our lawyers are investigating what it means for us and the venues.”

Live Nation president of European concerts John Reid told Pollstar the company is reviewing its portfolio and will take swift action to ensure the U.S. sanctions against the identified Russians are “upheld as they pertain to our business.”

Timchenko, who has Russian and Finnish citizenship, sits on the Continental Hockey League’s board of directors and co-owns oil trading company Gunvor. Arkady Rotenberg is a billionaire and among the most influential businessmen in Russia, in part due to his relationship with Putin. He and his brother Boris — also a billionaire — were once judo sparring partners with Putin and have remained close ever since.

LN’s next shows in the Hartwall are Miley CyrusJustin TimberlakePeter GabrielAerosmithElton John, and Nine Inch Nails.

Anthony Woolich, a partner at London law firm Holman Fenwick Wilan, told the FT the legality of LN’s partnership with Hartwall would probably depend on whether all financial transactions involved had taken place before the sanctions list was released.

“If LN still has to pay money for the use of the venue that could be a problem,” he said.

The Hartwall’s main use is ice hockey. It was built for the 1997 world championships and its main tenant is Jokerit, the local Helsinki team that this year will become the first Nordic club to join the Continental Hockey League.

The venue’s also frequently used for concerts and Bryan AdamsBackstreet BoysBon JoviDavid BowieEric ClaptonDepeche Mode, and R.E.M. are among the very long list of acts that have played it.