ROMAN Abramovich faces US seizure of his private jets after he was accused of violating sanctions.
A court in New York has issued an arrest warrant for a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and a Gulfstream G650ER worth a total of £320million belonging to the former Chelsea owner.
The 55-year-old recently completed the sale of the club after ministers accused him of “clear links” to Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Shortly after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, he was hit by British sanctions.
A federal judge in Manhattan issued the warrants on the grounds that the recent flights violate US export controls imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The US Department of Commerce said the Gulfstream flew from Istanbul to Moscow on March 12, departed for Tel Aviv the following day, and flew again from Istanbul to Moscow on March 15.
A disheveled-looking Abramovich was pictured at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport waiting to board the plane.
The Boeing flew from Dubai to Moscow on March 4, the department said.
Since the planes were made in the US and the flights took place after the export restrictions came into effect, Abramovich would have needed a US license to fly them to Russia.
The Department of Commerce may seek to fine Abramovich up to £262,000 per unlicensed flight, or nearly £800,000 for the three flights, among other charges.
“Russian oligarchs like Abramovich will not be allowed to violate US export regulations without consequences,” Commerce Official John Sonderman said in a statement.
FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll added: “These wealthy Russian oligarchs helped create an environment that allowed Russia to continue its deadly war in Ukraine.
“The confiscation of their valuable property, including those two planes, is just one way the US government is holding accountable those who violate US laws and support Russia in its bid to conquer a sovereign nation.
“Our work has only just begun and we will not back down.”
Abramovich owns both planes through a number of shell companies registered in Cyprus, Jersey and the British Virgin Islands, prosecutors said.
In February he reorganized the ownership structure to make his children the beneficiaries of a trust that ultimately owns both aircraft.
But he continued to effectively own and control the planes as they flew to Moscow next month, according to the Commerce Ministry.
Abramovich, who helped facilitate talks between Russia and Ukraine in the early days of the war, was not personally sanctioned by the United States.
In addition to private jets, Abramovich also owns two superyachts and he has gone to great lengths to avoid being sanctioned.
The £430million Solaris fled the port of Barcelona two days before it was sanctioned by the UK government.
In April, it emerged that Abramovich had frozen assets worth more than £5.4 billion in Jersey.
Twelve luxury properties, including a nearly £100million mansion that was once the holiday home of King Edward VIII, have been confiscated by the French government.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5503467/us-seize-roman-abramovich-private-jet-fleet-sanctions/ The US wants to seize Roman Abramovich’s £320m private jet fleet after the former Chelsea owner broke sanctions.