EU sanctions Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

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EU sanctions Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union (EU) imposed sanctions Tuesday on Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich as part of a new package of measures targeting Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s close allies.

The EU included the Russian oligarch in its updated list of individuals facing assets freeze and travel bans over their role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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The 55-year-old Abramovich had already been punished in Britain by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government last week. The aluminum magnate was among seven wealthy Russians who had their assets frozen under British sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich has also been suspended as director of the Premier League club.

The EU said Abramovich “has had privileged access to the (Russian) president, and has maintained very good relations with him. This connection with the Russian leader helped him to maintain his considerable wealth.”

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The European Council added 15 individuals and nine entities to its list of people and bodies sanctioned.

According to the 27-nation bloc, Abramovich’s connection with Putin helped him maintain his fortune, while the oligarch’s economic activities provided substantial revenues to the Russian government.

“He is a major shareholder of the steel group Evraz, which is one of Russia’s largest taxpayers,” the European Council said. “He has therefore been benefitting from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilization of Ukraine.”

In addition to his Russian passport, Abramovich also holds Portuguese citizenship, so it was unclear how a travel ban within the EU would affect his capacity to move freely in the region.

The EU sanctions against Abramovich were announced a day after a BBC investigation revealed new evidence about alleged corrupt deals that made the Russian businessman’s fortune.

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According to the BBC, Abramovich made billions after buying an oil company from the Russian government in a rigged auction in 1995. The broadcaster said he paid around $250 million for Sibneft, before selling it back to the Russian government for $13 billion in 2005.

EU imposes sanctions on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich  The Associated Press – en Español

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