Russia-Ukraine: Boris Johnson explains why Abramovich was not sanctioned

Boris Johnson finally explains why Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has not yet been sanctioned

The Russian oligarch is currently in the process of selling Chelsea (Image: Getty)

prime minister Boris Johnson says the Government must carry out “due process” before sanctioning Roman Abramovich to avoid hitting a “wall of lawyers”.

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?’

For the latest updates on the Russia-Ukraine War, visit our live blog: Russia-Ukraine Live

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.

Boris Johnson finally explains why Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has not yet been sanctioned

Johnson dodged a question about Abramovich at PMQs (Images: Getty/Sky News)

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.

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“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.

MORE: Thomas Tuchel reveals what Petr Cech told Chelsea squad after Roman Abramovich confirmed sale decision

MORE: Roman Abramovich’s ‘strange’ sale decision is ‘not good news’ for Chelsea, insists Tottenham boss Antonio Conte

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Chelsea FC Russia-Ukraine: Boris Johnson explains why Abramovich was not sanctioned

Nate Jones

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