© . FILE PHOTO: Football Football – Chelsea v Scunthorpe United – FA Cup Third Round – Stamford Bridge – 1/10/16 Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich Action Footage via /John Sibley
By Michael Holden and William James LONDON () – Britain has imposed sanctions on Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and Igor Sechin, the chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, who hit them with asset freezes and travel bans due to their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two billionaires plus businessman Oleg Deripaska and four other Russian oligarchs are the most high-profile figures added to Britain’s sanctions list since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, following criticism that Britain is acting too slowly. The move puts Abramovich’s plans to sell the Premier League club, the current European champions, on hold, although the government said the team could still continue to play. “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be relentless in prosecuting those who facilitate the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies. ” There were loud calls from British lawmakers to take action against Abramovich and other Russian oligarchs, criticizing the Johnson government for not acting fast enough compared to the European Union and the United States. Sechin, who was described by Britain as Putin’s right-hand man, was already on US and EU sanctions lists and last week French authorities seized his yacht. £15 BILLION The others added to the list were Oleg Deripaska, who has interests in En+ Group, Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of Bank Rossiya, Alexei Miller, the CEO of energy company Gazprom (MCX:), and Nikolai Tokarev, the president of the Russian state pipeline company Transneft. In all, Britain said the seven figures added to the sanctions list had combined assets of £15 billion. ($19.74 billion). Thursday’s action means Abramovich cannot transact with British individuals and companies, and cannot enter or stay in Britain. His spokeswoman immediately declined to comment. Last week he announced that he would sell Chelsea and donate money from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine. Abramovich is the largest shareholder in the London-listed Russian steelmaker Evraz. It fell 16% after the sanctions were announced. The entry on Britain’s sanctions list described Abramovich, who was worth £9 billion according to Britain, as “a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch”. It said he “had a close relationship” with the Russian president for decades. It said this association with Putin had brought Abramovich a financial or material benefit, either directly from the Russian president or from the Russian government. “This includes tax breaks received by companies associated with Abramovich, which buy and sell shares to and from the state at favorable rates, and the contracts received in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup,” the website said. ($1 = £0.7599) Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data on this website is not necessarily real-time or accurate. All CFDs (Stocks, Indices, Futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and therefore prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price meaning prices are indicative and not suitable for trading purposes . Therefore, Fusion Media does not bear any responsibility for any trading losses that you may incur as a result of using this data. Fusion Media or anyone associated with Fusion Media accepts no liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any information, including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals on this website. Be fully informed about the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest forms of investment possible.