Washington orders the seizure of a Boeing 787 and a Gulfstream from Abramovich
The US Department of Justice on Monday ordered the seizure of two planes belonging to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, on the grounds that they were used in violation of sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. US authorities have warrants allowing them to seize two devices belonging to the Russian businessman who he transferred to Russia without the necessary licenses since the adoption of sanctions against Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine, said a Justice Department official said Monday. The Department of Commerce has also initiated administrative proceedings against Roman Abramovich, considering that the latter remained the de facto owner of the two planes, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and a Gulfstream G650 ER, even if in February he made his two Russian children the beneficiaries of the legal entities that legally own them.
Two American planes
Washington clarified that the Gulfstream made an Istanbul-Moscow flight on March 12 and that the Boeing flew from Dubai to the Russian capital on March 4, so in both cases after the entry into force of restrictions on the exports decided by the United States.
The two devices being of American manufacture, Roman Abramovich should have requested a license to fly them to Russia, explains the Commerce Department. Roman Abramovich, who denies being close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been sanctioned by both the European Union and Britain and had to sell his stake in London football club Chelsea.
US strikes close to Putin
The United States announced last Thursday a new series of sanctions to push Vladimir Putin to give up the war in Ukraine, targeting in particular his close friend and « financier » Sergei Pavlovich Roldougin and a brokerage company in superyachts for Russian oligarchs. The US Treasury, State Department and Commerce Department are targeting a whole host of new oligarchs or members of Moscow’s « elite », including Russian diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Several yachts regularly used, according to Washington, by the Russian president, are also on the American blacklist, including « Graceful », « Olympia », « Shellest » and « Nega ».
The Treasury claims to attack « key networks used by Russia’s elites, including President Vladimir Putin himself, to try to hide and move money and anonymously enjoy their luxury goods across the planet » — thus escaping the unprecedented Western sanctions imposed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February. Among the most prominent figures in this new section of American sanctions is cellist Sergei Pavlovich Roldougin, a close friend of the Russian head of state « for more than forty years » but also presented as his « fund manager », « member of a system that manages » its « offshore wealth ». He had been sanctioned by the European Union at the end of February. His wife, the soprano Elena Mirtova, is also affected by these sanctions which freeze their possible assets in the United States and block their access to the American market. Imperial Yachts, a superyacht service provider for « members of Russia’s elite, including President Putin’s inner circle », is also blacklisted by the US Treasury. The same goes for Skyline Aviation, headquartered in San Marino but which is accused of flying its private planes in Crimea, part of Ukraine annexed by Russia in 2014 without international recognition.
For its part, the State Department has sanctioned Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and steel magnate Alexei Mordashov, « one of Russia’s richest billionaires », who were already targeted by the EU. He also blacklisted God Nisanov, « one of the richest men in Europe and close to several Russian officials », as well as Sergei Gorkov, head of the public company Rosgeo, which specializes in geological studies. . This implies that they are prohibited from entering the United States.
(With AFP and Reuters)