Britain adds Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich to sanctions list

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC, smiles after his team’s victory during the UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, 2021 in Porto, Portugal.

Alexander Hasenstein | UEFA | Getty Images

The UK authorities have imposed sanctions on the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the outgoing owner of Chelsea FC and an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

The British government said Thursday that Abramovich was among seven Russian businessmen added to the sanctions list, as pressure intensifies on the pariah state over its invasion of Ukraine.

The new list includes other members of Putin’s inner circle, such as Oleg Deripaska, Dmitry Lebedev and Igor Sechin.

The seven men will see all their possessions frozen and their travel will be restricted.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “There can be no safe haven for those who supported Putin’s vicious attack on Ukraine.”

The campaign follows Abramovich’s announcement last week that he will sell his Chelsea Football Club, along with a string of luxury properties in London, as he proceeds to sell his UK assets.

The 55-year-old, whose fortune originally stemmed from the privatization of Russian industry, said at the time that the sale was in the “club’s best interest”, and that all net proceeds from the sale would be donated to war victims.

After the sanctions were announced, the potential acquisition of Chelsea has now been put on hold and the government must grant permission for any sale.

The British Ministry of Sports said it will work closely with the club and the wider football league to ensure matches can continue to be played.

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“The license will remain under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities,” a government spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for Ambramović said she could not immediately comment.

There have been growing calls from British lawmakers to target Abramovich, who has so far avoided the sanctions some of his peers face – even as he publicly renounced many of his most valuable ties with the UK.

Johnson said Thursday’s move showed the government’s commitment to pressure those with ties to the Kremlin as the bloody war entered its second week.

“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s steadfast support for the Ukrainian people. We will be tough on going after those who help kill civilians, destroy hospitals and unlawfully occupy sovereign allies,” he said.

Others sanctioned include Deripaska, who owns stakes in the Nplus group, Lebedev, chairman of the Bank of Russia, and Sechin, chief executive of the Russian oil group. Rosneft.

Alexey Miller, CEO of Energy GazpromNikolai Tokarev, head of the Russian state-owned pipeline company, Transneft, was also infected.

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