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US cites Abramovich’s jet in export controls breach


US authorities have said a private jet registered to billionaire Roman Abramovich is on a list of aircraft targeted for flying to Russia in breach of export controls.

It is the first time Washington has publicly identified an asset belonging to Abramovich, who has been placed under sanctions by the UK and EU, but is not named in US sanctions.

Abramovich, the owner of London football club Chelsea, has been accused by the UK government of having benefited from close links to Russian president Vladimir Putin and had his UK assets frozen. He is one of several Russians hit with an asset freeze and travel ban.

The list of 100 aircraft which the US said were in violation of its Export Administration Regulations includes passenger and cargo jets run by Aeroflot, AirBridge Cargo, Aviastar-TU, Azur Air, Nordwind and Utair.

The US commerce department said any services such as refuelling, servicing and maintenance offered to the named aircraft, which contain US technology, would also violate US export controls.

“By preventing these aircraft from receiving any service, for example including from abroad, international flights from Russia on these aircraft are effectively grounded,” the department said in a statement.

“We are publishing this list to put the world on notice — we will not allow Russian and Belarusian companies and oligarchs to travel with impunity in violation of our laws,” said Gina Raimondo, secretary of commerce.

Abramovich’s jet arrived in Moscow earlier this week, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

The commerce department’s move comes as Abramovich seeks to end his ownership of Chelsea FC, the Premier League team that has made him one of the most recognisable Russian oligarchs in the UK.

The first bids were received on Friday in an auction being run by Raine Group, the US merchant bank.

The auction has attracted the interest of US asset manager Oaktree Capital as well as billionaire investors including Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, and Josh Harris, the US billionaire and former top executive at Apollo Global Management.

The sale requires UK government approval and has brought renewed scrutiny of the foreign ownership of English football clubs.

While the team is able to play, the government has blocked it from selling new tickets and merchandise.

Abramovich ceded day-to-day management of Chelsea after Russia invaded Ukraine.


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