There are growing calls for the oligarch, who has owned Chelsea since 2003, to be involved in economic measures against Russians who are said to have ties to Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.
“He is of interest to the Home Office because of his ties to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activities and practices,” Labor leader Keir Starmer von Abramovich said in parliament on Wednesday.
“Last week the Prime Minister said that Abramovich faces sanctions. He later corrected the record to say he is not. Well, why on earth isn’t he?’
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In response, Johnson dodged the question, saying it was “not appropriate to comment on individual cases at this time,” with the prime minister and ministers refusing to go into details about Abramovich — who denies ties to Putin — and whether he was doing it would be sanctioned.
But now, in an interview with the foreign press on Friday, Johnson finally hinted that Abramovich faces the possibility of sanctions but the government needs to have a watertight case before proceeding.
When asked why Abramovich still hasn’t been sanctioned, Johnson told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica and others: “None of us wants to live in a country where the state can take your home without a very heavy burden of proof and due process.
“There’s no point in saying, yes, we’re going to pursue him, and then you hit the wall of lawyers. So we have to do it right.
“We also try not to do this through just one person. The top line of what our package will do on Monday is that the measures you have against individual oligarchs in Europe will essentially allow us to catch them too.
“Plus the extra things we’re doing that Europe hasn’t caught up on or isn’t ready to do like Swift.”
On Tuesday, Labor MP Christ Bryant claimed Abramovich was “terrified” of sanctions and was in the process of selling the properties he owns in London.
A day later, Abramovich confirmed he had started selling Chelsea football club and is believed to have received at least three offers valuing the club at around £3billion.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/03/04/russia-ukraine-boris-johnson-explains-why-abramovich-hasnt-been-sanctioned-16220613/ Russia-Ukraine: Boris Johnson explains why Abramovich was not sanctioned