Friday, June 10 2022

Left to right: Ian Gorst and Roman Abramovich (Getty Images, iStock)

A popular tax haven in the English Channel is freezing assets worth more than $7 billion linked to Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch who was sanctioned by the UK government last month.

The island of Jersey, a self-governing UK Crown dependency and haven for foreign investors, ordered Abramovich’s assets frozen after local authorities searched addresses believed to be linked to him in one of the latest attempts to target the billionaire over his alleged ties to the Kremlin, the New York Post reported.

No description of the assets was released, but they were either located on the island or held by entities incorporated there, according to the Post.

“The Government of Jersey continues to stand with the UK and its international partners and has implemented all UK and UN sanctions deployed in response to Russia’s actions against Ukraine” , Ian Gorst, the island’s Minister for External Relations and Financial Services, told the Financial Times.

Abramovich, who, according to the Guardianbecame a billionaire through the privatization of Russian state assets in the 1990s, has come under scrutiny from Western authorities since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine in February .

Abramovich, who bought Premier League football club Chelsea FC in 2003, announced in February that he would hand over the “stewardship” of the club to its charity arm ahead of possible sanctions. The British government sanctioned the tycoon weeks later, and French authorities have reportedly seized 12 properties he owns in that country, including a $120million mansion on the Riviera.

On Thursday, the UK announced that it was still freezing until $13 billion in assets run by two of his associates, Eugene Tenenbaum and David Davidovich.

Abromovich owns a fleet of superyachts worth over $1 billion that could also be seized soon. Two of the ships set sail when the UK began imposing sanctions, according to the Post.

In recent years, Abramovich has transferred several assets to Jersey from the British Virgin Islands, where the British government has more direct control, according to the FT. These assets would include helicopters and at least one yacht.

The oligarch also invested in American real estate, including townhouses on New York’s Upper East Side, which he planned to combine into a single mansion. Abramovich eventually transferred ownership of these properties to his ex-wife Dasha Zhukova in 2018 for more than $92 million.

He also owns two homes near Aspen, Colorado, according to property records: a 200-acre estate for which he paid $36.4 million in 2008, and a smaller home he bought for $11.8 million the same year.

[NYP] —Victoria Pruitt


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