A Russian oligarch with extensive business interests in London has escaped sanctions in the UK despite his close and "long-time" friendship with Alexander Lukashenko.

Mikhail Gutseriev’s relationship with the Belarusian dictator is so close that Mr Lukashenko offered to rename a town after him, according to a European Union sanctions document released last week.

Critics of the Belarusian regime said it was "incredible" that the British Government had declined to place Mr Gutseriev on their sanctions list – and demanded to know why.

Last week, the UK issued an updated list of sanctions against individuals and companies linked to Mr Lukashenko but omitted Mr Gutseriev’s name. On the same day, the EU added 78 individuals and seven entities, among them Mr Gutseriev, to its updated sanctions list.

In its citation, the EU said: "Mikhail Gutseriev is a prominent Russian businessman, with business interests in Belarus in the sectors of energy, potash, hospitality and others. He is a long-time friend of Alexander Lukashenko and thanks to this association has accumulated significant wealth and influence among the political elite in Belarus."

A Telegraph investigation published last year highlighted Mr Gutseriev’s close ties to the Belarus regime.

Then in March, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, the Labour MP for Streatham, asked in Parliament if Mr Gutseriev would be placed under sanctions.

She was told by a Foreign Office minister it would be "inappropriate to speculate publicly on future designations". A spokesman for two anti-Lukashenko groups – the International Strategic Action Network for Security and Creative Politics Hub – said: "It is simply incredible that this hasn’t happened. This is a very shady business."

"Gutseriev has so many links to the UK and yet he is not on the list despite condemnation of Lukashenko and his kleptocracy. This takes us to an unprecedented level of hypocrisy."

Bill Browder, an Anglo-American financier, who was responsible for introducing so-called Magnitsky sanctions, said he was surprised that the UK had not placed Mr Gutseriev under sanctions. Mr Browder said: "The EU is usually much more timid than the UK in going after these oligarchs."

Mr Gutseriev, 63, who is worth £2bn according to Forbes, rose to prominence in 2016 after lavishing tens of millions of pounds on what has been billed as the world’s most expensive wedding for his son Said Gutseriev, a British citizen educated at Harrow and Oxford.

The wedding reportedly involved musical performances by Jennifer Lopez, Sting and Enrique Iglesias.

According to official documents lodged at Companies House, Mr Gutseriev has the controlling interest in GCM Global Energy PLC, whose interests in Belarus include a deal for a potash factory that had been due to open this year.

According to the EU sanctions, Mr Gutseriev’s potash plant is "the largest investment in Belarus, worth $2 billion". The plant is being built near Lyuban, the town that the EU alleges was mooted to be named in his honour.

The EU also alleges that Mr Gutseriev – through his oil business Safmar – was the only Russian company that carried on supplying oil to Belarus refineries at the beginning of last year during an energy crisis.

On Saturday night, a Foreign Office spokesman said all listings were under "close review".