Jersey freezes $7bn worth of assets linked to Roman Abramovich

19:36, Wednesday, 13 April, 2022
Jersey freezes $7bn worth of assets linked to Roman Abramovich

A court in Channel Island of Jersey has imposed an order freezing more than $7bn in assets linked to Roman Abramovich in a significant blow to the Russian oligarch’s fortune.

The order comes after the island’s police searched premises “suspected to be connected to the business activities of Roman Abramovich”.

“The Royal Court also imposed a formal freezing order on 12 April . . . over assets understood to be valued in excess of $7bn which are suspected to be connected to Mr Abramovich,” the government said.

The assets were either located in Jersey or owned by entities incorporated on the island, the statement said.

The move is another blow to Abramovich. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, UK authorities forced him to sell Chelsea Football Club and his yachts were made to leave harbours to avoid being seized. Trading in shares in Evraz, the aluminium maker that earned him his fortune, remains suspended.

The $7bn asset freeze against Abramovich in Jersey is just shy of the $8bn total that Switzerland has seized from all 900 Russians on the EU and US sanctions lists.

Ian Gorst, Jersey’s minister for external relations and financial services, said he could not comment on matters under “active consideration” by the dependency’s Law Officers’ Department.

“The government of Jersey continues to stand alongside the UK and international partners and has implemented all UK and UN sanctions deployed in response to Russia’s actions against Ukraine,” Gorst said. “Our legislation to give force to these measures has severe criminal consequences, and any links to sanctioned entities or suspected breaches must be reported to the appropriate authorities.”

The move against Abramovich is the clearest step yet by the Channel island’s government to seize some of the billions of dollars worth of wealthy Russians’ assets widely thought to be invested in the offshore centre.

Jersey has previously said it was implementing all the sanctions introduced by the UK government in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

While it was not clear on Wednesday which assets the freeze order affected, Abramovich has moved a number of his investments to Jersey in recent years from the British Virgin Islands, another offshore haven.
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The most recent accounts of Fordstam, the vehicle that controls Chelsea Football Club, show a £1.5bn outstanding loan to the company from Camberley International Investments. Camberley transferred its registration in 2020 from the BVI to Jersey.

Multiple helicopters linked to Abramovich are owned through Jersey-registered entities, as is Sussurro, the first superyacht the oligarch bought in 1998. The Guardian reported last week that Abramovich transferred a Jersey vehicle that owned another yacht — the 50-metre Aquamarine — to his associate David Davidovich on the day Russia invaded Ukraine.

There was no immediate response from a spokesman for Abramovich to a request for comment.

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