LONDON — The United Kingdom has sanctioned Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and six other Russian oligarchs after they came under fire for being slow to target individuals.
The British government on Thursday added seven oligarchs with a collective wealth of around £15billion to its list of individuals sanctioned over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich, his former business partner Oleg Deripaska and Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin had their UK assets frozen. They were also banned from doing business with British citizens and businesses and from traveling to Britain.
Four other members of Putin’s inner circle have been hit with asset freezes and travel bans. They are Andrey Kostin, president of VTB Bank; Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom; Nikolai Tokarev, president of the pipeline company Transneft; and Dmitry Lebedev, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Rossiya.
“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We will be ruthless in pursuing those who allow the killing of civilians, the destruction of hospitals and the unlawful occupation of sovereign allies.”
Abramovich, who was in the process of selling Chelsea, is the only one of the seven oligarchs who is not yet on a sanctions list issued by the US, EU or both.
The UK government has issued a license allowing a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea, given the impact of the sanctions on the football club, which will be allowed to continue playing matches – although Abramovich’s sale of the club is now frozen.
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