Two private jets of sanctioned oligarch held indefinitely

The two planes are at Biggin Hill and Farnborough airfields, both south of London

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich with Eugene Shvidler. Getty

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Two private jets belonging to a Russian oligarch hit with sanctions are being indefinitely detained, the UK Government has said.

The planes are owned by Eugene Shvidler, a friend of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who has been placed under sanctions by the UK and EU. The measures are aimed at helping to end the war in Ukraine.

Mr Shvidler was included in the UK’s expanded list, released on Thursday, of oligarchs hit with sanctions.

His two planes are at Biggin Hill and Farnborough airfields, both south of London.

“Since [President Vladimir] Putin began his illegal assault, I’ve held jets belonging to Eugene Shvidler under investigation for three weeks,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Saturday.

“Now, I am using my powers to detain them indefinitely. Putin’s friends who made millions out of his regime will not enjoy luxuries while innocent people die.”

The two seized jets were a $45 million (£34m) Bombardier Global 6500 jet and a $13m Cessna Citation Latitude jet, The Times reported.

The oligarchs targetted have alleged links to Mr Putin or the Russian government.

It means their assets, businesses and playthings — from Chelsea Football Club to luxury yachts and homes — can be seized.

Superyachts worth hundreds of millions of dollars belonging to some of Russia's wealthiest people have been seized or detained.

Chelsea is up for sale and four bidders have been told they must come up with at least £1 billion to buy the Premier League club.

Mr Shvidler, a businessman with an estimated net worth of £1.2 billion ($1.58bn), has close business links to Chelsea FC owner Mr Abramovich, the UK Government said.

Also on the latest list of people placed under sanctions in Britain is the London-based daughter of Russian politician Sergey Lavrov.

Polina Kovaleva, the daughter of the Russian foreign minister, is a 26-year-old Imperial College London graduate, who reportedly owns a £4.4-million mansion in Kensington, west London, which she bought without a mortgage in 2016.

Others on the sanctions list include:

  • Russian diamond-mining company Alrosa
  • Alfa-Bank, the largest private bank in Russia
  • Oleg Tinkov, founder of Tinkoff Bank
  • Herman Gref, chief executive of Sberbank, the country’s largest bank
  • Oleg E Aksyutin, deputy chairman of the management board at Gazprom
  • Didier Casimiro, first vice president of Russian state oil company Rosneft
  • Zeljko Runje, another leading figure at Gazprom
  • Galina Danilchenko, the woman Moscow installed as "mayor" of the Ukrainian city of Melitopol after Russian troops abducted the elected mayor
Updated: March 27, 2022, 6:33 AM
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