Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich swept up in $19 billion U.K. sanctions hit on Russian oligarchs

Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich swept up in $19 billion U.K. sanctions hit on Russian oligarchs

The U.K. has slapped sanctions on seven more Russian oligarchs with a net worth of £15 billion ($19.75 billion) over their country’s invasion of Ukraine, including Chelsea soccer team owner Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich and one-time business partner Oleg Deripaska will see their assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with U.K. individuals and businesses, a ban on travel and transport sanctions, the government announced Thursday.

However, the government made an exception for Abramovich’s soccer club.

“Given the significant impact that today’s sanctions would have on Chelsea football club and the potential knock on effects of this, the Government has this morning published a license which authorizes a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea,” it said in a statement.

The club will continue playing matches and other related activity will help “protect Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs.” The license allows only specific actions, and kept under constant review, with the government working closely with football authorities.

Anticipating such a move, Abramovich had been scrambling to sell the football club that’s worth more than £9 billion ($11.8 billion), saying the proceeds would go to victims of the war in Ukraine. He also has stakes in steel giant Evraz EVR, -12.59% and Norislk Nickel RU:GMKN.

Also sanctioned were Russian President Vladimir Putin’s right-hand man Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft RU:ROSN, along with Andrey Kostin, chairman of VTB Bank RU:VTBR, Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom RU:SIBN, Nikolai Tokarev, president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft and Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Rossiya.

“We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies,” said U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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