LONDON – Britain imposed sanctions on Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, hitting them with asset freezes and travel bans over their links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two billionaires, along with businessman Oleg Deripaska and four other Russian oligarchs, are the most prominent figures to have been placed on Britain’s sanctions list since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, following criticism that Britain has acted too slowly.
The action puts on hold Abramovich’s plans to sell the Premier League club, current European champions, although the government said the side could still play.
“There must be no safe havens for those who supported Putin’s vicious attack on Ukraine,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in Britain’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will ruthlessly pursue those who facilitate the killing of civilians, the destruction of hospitals and the illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”
British lawmakers have been vocal in calling for action against Abramovich and other Russian oligarchs, criticizing Johnson’s government for not moving fast enough compared to the European Union and the United States.
Sechin, whom Britain has described as Putin’s right-hand man, was already on the US and EU sanctions lists, and last week French authorities seized his yacht.
15 BILLION POUNDS
The others added to the list were Oleg Deripaska, who holds shares in En+ Group, Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of Bank Rossiya, Alexei Miller, chief executive officer of energy company Gazprom, and Nikolai Tokarev, president of Russia’s state-owned pipeline company transneft.
Overall, the UK said the seven numbers added to the sanctions list had a combined net worth of £15billion. ($19.74 billion).
Thursday’s action means Abramovich is banned from conducting transactions with British individuals and companies and cannot enter or reside in the UK. His spokeswoman declined immediate comment.
Last week he announced he would sell Chelsea and donate money from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
Abramovich is the largest shareholder in London-listed Russian steelmaker Evraz EVRE.L. After the sanctions were announced, it fell by 16%.
The UK sanctions list entry described Abramovich, who Britain said was worth £9 billion, as “a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch”. He said he had had a “close relationship” with the Russian president “for decades.”
It was said that this association with Putin brought Abramovich a financial or material benefit either directly from the Russian president or from the Russian government.
“These include tax breaks given to companies associated with Abramovich, the buying and selling of shares to and from the state on favorable terms, and the contracts entered into in the run-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” the statement said site.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/10/uk-imposes-asset-freezes-on-abramovich-rosneft-boss-sechin/ Britain imposes asset freezes on Abramovich, Rosneft boss Sechin