By Sport Desk
Roman Abramovich’s hopes of a quickfire sale of Chelsea Football Club have been ended after the UK government froze his assets for his ties with Russia president Vladimir Putin.
The Russian put the Blues up for sale last week and he had valued the club at around £4billion.
Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and he’s pumped more than £1.5bn into Chelsea during a trophy-laden 18-and-a-half years at the club.
55-year-old had hoped to conclude a deal this week but the UK government have finally decided to sanction him given his connection to Putin.
‘Roman Abramovich is a prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch,’ a government statement read.
‘Abramovich associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom Abramovich has had a close relationship for decades.
‘This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the Government of Russia. This includes tax breaks received by companies linked to Abramovich, buying and selling shares from and to the state at favourable rates, and the contracts received in the run up to the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
‘Therefore, Abramovich has received preferential treatment and concessions from Putin and the Government of Russia. Abramovich is also associated with a person who is or has been involved in obtaining a benefit from or supporting the Government of Russia, namely: former First Deputy Prime Minister, and current Chairman of the Management Board for VEB, Igor Shuvalov; former General Director of Gazprom Investment Holdings, Alisher Usmanov, both of whom were sanctioned on 3 March 2022 for being involved persons in obtaining a benefit from or supporting the Russian government through carrying on business in a sector of strategic significance to the Russian government.
‘Abramovich is associated with these individuals through close business relationships and mutual assistance, including Abramovich financing Shuvalov’s trust and the subsequent loans from Shuvalov to enable Usmanov’s purchase of a British mill.
Furthermore, Abramovich is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, via Evraz PLC, a steel manufacturing and mining company in which Abramovich has a significant shareholding and over which Abramovich exercises effective control.
‘Evraz PLC is or has been involved in providing financial services, or making available funds, economic resources, goods or technology that could contribute to destabilising Ukraine or undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine – which includes potentially supplying steel to the Russian military which may have been used in the production of tanks.
Abramovich exercises effective control of Evraz PLC given his significant shareholding and the shareholdings of his close associates who it is reasonable to expect Abramovich could direct through his close ties with Abramov and Shvidler, as well as his power to nominate directors of the board.
Abramovich is or has been involved in obtaining a benefit from or supporting the Government of Russia, as Abramovich and Evraz PLC carry on business in sectors of strategic significance to the Government of Russia – namely the construction, defence and extractive sectors.’