Private jet linked to Russia booked as UK flight sanctions tighten

Lanes are seen in the sky as a plane flies over London as the Union Jack flag flutters in the wind at 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, January 29, 2022. REUTERS/May James

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Wednesday it had seized a plane linked to a Russian billionaire under new aviation sanctions that give authorities the power to seize any Russian plane and ban exports of aviation or space-related goods to Russia.

Measures to strengthen action against Russian aircraft mean that any flying or landing in the UK is a criminal offence. Read more

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the ban includes any aircraft owned, operated or leased by any person associated with Russia or specific individuals or entities, and will include the authority to detain any aircraft owned by persons associated with Russia.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said one plane had already been booked at Farnborough Airport in southern England while further investigations were under way.

A British government source said the private jet was linked to Eugene Schweedler, a billionaire associate of Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club. Read more Shvidler could not immediately be reached for comment.

“We know that it is not a Russian company that owns the plane, but rather a plane registered in Luxembourg. We are conducting further checks before it is launched,” Shapps told LBC radio.

The Ministry of Transport said it was working with the Civil Aviation Authority to clarify the details of the aircraft registered with GlobalJet Luxembourg.

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“Banning Russian-flagged aircraft from the UK and making it a criminal offense to fly them will lead to more economic pain for Russia and those close to the Kremlin,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

The Foreign Office said it would introduce new legislation on Wednesday to implement the measures, which also include the power to remove any British aircraft from the registration of sanctioned Russian individuals and entities.

The new sanctions will also ban aerospace-related exports, including insurance and reinsurance.

The statement said this would mean that insurance coverage on existing policies would be withdrawn and that British-based insurance and reinsurance companies would not be able to pay claims on existing policies in these sectors.

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Additional reporting by William James, Elizabeth Piper and Michael Holden; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Shree Navaratnam, Elaine Hardcastle

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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