The Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has been singled out for his closeness to Vladimir Putin, is under siege by land, sea and air. The sanctions in the United Kingdom and the European Union against the Russian tycoon have pushed him back to his native country from Europe, where he was living between London and Israel. The still owner of Chelsea, who has been hit hard by the British government sanctions (which have frozen £15 billion worth of assets), landed in Moscow on Tuesday after apparently being spotted at an Israeli airport, according to several British media reports.
The Chelsea owner, who has Israeli and Portuguese citizenship, was photographed last night while waiting in a VIP lounge at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, wearing a mask. All indications are that he then boarded a plane he owned (Gulfstream G650ER) that left for Moscow, making a brief stop in Turkey, according to data from air route portal Flightradar24.
In addition to the photograph in which he is seen waiting at the airport, there is also a video circulating in which he is apparently seen at that airfield, taking off his jacket, however there are no graphic documents corroborating that the oligarch boarded the plane.
Abramovich is one of the Russian oligarchs who have so far been sanctioned for their close ties with Putin in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The British government argues that the sanctions on Abramovich, imposed last week, are due to the tycoon’s “close relationship over decades” with the Russian president. Last Saturday, the Premier League announced the dismissal of the Russian tycoon as owner of Chelsea and even some of his properties have already been seized by the British government. Michael Gove, a British MP, has proposed that the luxurious homes of the wealthiest Russians could be used to host Ukrainian refugees, a measure that if approved would fully affect the Russian businessman.
Abramovich has been spotted on several occasions in Israel, where he owns several properties. This morning, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that the country’s financial, banking and aviation authorities were investigating the problem of Russian oligarchs in the country. In a statement made during a visit to Slovakia, which borders Ukraine, he said, “Israel will not be a route to circumvent sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western countries.” Abramovich had held Israeli citizenship since 2018.
Under the sanctions, Abramovich will have his assets frozen, be barred from transacting with British businesses and individuals and banned from entering the UK, although he has denied close ties to Putin.
The oligarch’s two super yachts, My Solaris and Eclipse, could also be on their way to Israel, the British press reports. According to the MarineTraffic website, My Solaris is currently berthed in a Montenegrin port, after leaving Barcelona in a hurry last week; while Eclipse is currently sailing off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean.