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US blames Abramovich’s jet for violating export controls

US authorities have said a private jet registered to billionaire Roman Abramovich is on a list of planes said to fly to Russia in violation of export controls.

It is the first time Washington has publicly identified an asset owned by Abramovich who has been subordinated sanctions by the UK and EUbut is not mentioned in US sanctions.

Abramovich, the owner of London football club Chelsea, has been accused by the British government of profiting from close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and freezing his British assets. He is one of several Russians hit with an asset freeze and a travel ban.

The list of 100 aircraft the US said violates its Export Administration Regulations includes passenger and cargo planes operated by Aeroflot, AirBridge Cargo, Aviastar-TU, Azur Air, Nordwind and Utair.

The US Department of Commerce said any services, such as fueling, servicing and maintenance, offered to the said planes that contain US technology would also violate US export controls.

“By preventing these planes from receiving any services, including from abroad, international flights from Russia using these planes are effectively grounded,” the department said in a statement.

“We are releasing this list to alert the world – we will not allow Russian and Belarusian companies and oligarchs to travel with impunity, which is against our laws,” said Trade Minister Gina Raimondo.

According to flight tracking website FlightRadar24, Abramovich’s jet arrived in Moscow earlier this week.

The move in the commercial division comes as Abramovich seeks to end his ownership of Chelsea FC, the Premier League team that has made him one of the UK’s most prominent Russian oligarchs.

The first bids came in at an auction held by US merchant bank Raine Group on Friday.

The auction has aroused interest US wealth manager Oaktree Capital and billionaire investors including Todd Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, and Josh Harris, US billionaire and former top executive at Apollo Global Management.

The sale requires UK government approval and has led to renewed scrutiny of foreign ownership of English football clubs.

While the team can play, the government has blocked them from selling new tickets and merchandise.

Abramovich ceded day by day Management of Chelsea after Russia invaded Ukraine.

https://www.ft.com/content/ffa203ac-ee1e-4e43-bfd7-8a99c70ff649 US blames Abramovich’s jet for violating export controls

Adam Bradshaw

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