UK freezes $13 billion in assets linked to Abramovich partners

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea, stands on the podium during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on December 19, 2015 in London, England.

Clive Mason | Getty Images

On Thursday, the United Kingdom announced that it had frozen assets of two Russian oligarchs amounting to 10 billion pounds, or 13 billion dollars.

The move against Eugene Tenenbaum and David Davidovich, who are close associates of well-known Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Represents the largest measure of asset freeze in British history, according to a government spokesperson.

Thursday’s asset freeze comes a day after authorities in Jersey’s offshore tax haven More than $7 billion worth of assets have been frozen which is suspected of being related to Abramovich.

This brings the total value of the frozen assets to up to $20 billion. In addition to the freeze, only Davidovich, not Tenenbaum, was banned from traveling to Britain.

Jersey is a self-governing Channel Island and is governed by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.

British officials said the Jersey v. Abramovich verdict and the UK’s action against Tannenbaum and Davidovich were coordinated.

These moves are intended to cut off potential monetary resources that Russian President Vladimir Putin could request to fund his failed invasion of Ukraine.

“We are tightening the screws on Putin’s war machine and targeting the circle of people closest to the Kremlin,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (below) said in a statement announcing the asset freeze on Thursday. “We will continue to impose sanctions until Putin fails in Ukraine. Nothing and nobody is off the table,” he added.

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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in Warsaw, Poland, on April 5, 2022

Matthews and Ludarczyk | Norfoto | Getty Images

England, particularly London, has long served as the center of the Russian billionaire class in the post-Soviet period, and many of the notable estates in the city’s most fashionable areas serve as second homes for Russian oligarchs.

But Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, and the international response to it, threatens the financial security that British pounds and property wealth once represented to Russia’s wealthiest and most connected oligarchs.

British sanctions imposed on Abramovich in March forced him to sell the famous London football club Chelsea. It is said that a multi-billion dollar deal to sell the club is nearing completion, with Four bidders are still in the running To own one of the most successful football teams in Europe.

Unlike high-profile assets like Chelsea, the holding companies controlled by Davidovich and Tenenbaum (bottom, left) represent the other side of Abramovich’s empire, which remains largely hidden.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (right) and director Eugene Tenenbaum (left) celebrate a goal for Chelsea against Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League on February 25, 2012.

good lister | work photos | Reuters

International sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine have shed new light on the maze of shell companies around the world that Russian oligarchs use to hide the sources and destinations of their fortunes.

Last week, relatively small tax havens like Jersey and the Cayman Islands announced freezing tens of billions of dollars in assets owned in their banks by Russian oligarchs who had come under sanctions.

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Jersey has long served as a secret offshore tax haven for corporations. Some of the world’s richest people hide their assets on the island, using Byzantine labyrinths to shell companies.

David Clapp | Photo library | Getty Images

Both Tenenbaum and Davidovich are involved in a single Jersey-registered company called Evrington Investments Limited that is linked to Abramovich, according to British authorities.

Company records show that on February 24, the same day Russia invaded Ukraine, Abramovich transferred control of Evrington Investments to Tenenbaum.

Less than a month later, Tenenbaum transferred control of the company to Davidovich.

But it was not only Tenenbaum who seized Abramovich’s assets on the very day of the invasion.

On February 24, Abramovich transferred control of a separate company, Norma Investments, to Davidovich, according to company records. In the past, Abramovich used Norma Investments to fund energy startups Around the world, the Wall Street Journal reported.

And it wasn’t just companies.

The Aquamarine, one of Abramovich’s largest yachts, was also transferred to Davidovich on February 24, According to a Guardian investigation,. Technically, the 150-foot-tall superyacht is owned by a company called MHC Jersey Ltd. It is registered in Jersey.

Davidovich confirmed to the Guardian that he was the owner of both MHC and the yacht itself.

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