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UK adds Russian billionaire and Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich to sanctions list

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea smiles following his team’s victory during the UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, 2021 in Porto, Portugal.
Alexander Hassenstein | Uefa | Getty Images

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the outgoing owner of Chelsea FC and a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin, has been sanctioned by U.K. authorities.

The British government said Thursday that Abramovich was among seven Russian businessmen added to its sanctions list as it ramps up pressure on the pariah state over its invasion of Ukraine.

The new list includes further members of Putin’s inner circle, such as Oleg Deripaska, Dmitri Lebedev and Igor Sechin.

All seven men will see their assets frozen and travel restricted.

“There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

The crackdown follows Ambramovich’s announcement last week that he would sell his prized Chelsea soccer club, alongside a string of luxury London properties, as he embarked on a fire sale of his U.K. assets.

The 55-year-old, whose wealth originally derives from the privatization of Russian industry, said at the time that the sale was in the “best interest of the club,” and that all net proceeds from the sale would be donated to victims of the war.

Following the sanctions announcement, the U.K. sports ministry said Thursday that it would work closely with the club and wider football league to ensure matches could continue being played.

This is a breaking news story, please check back later for more.

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