Jersey freezes $7 billion in assets linked to Roman Abramovich
A court in the Channel Island of Jersey has imposed an order freezing more than $7 billion in assets linked to Roman Abramovich, dealing a blow to the Russian oligarch’s fortunes.
The order comes after police on the island raided premises “suspected of being linked to Roman Abramovich’s business activities”.
“The Royal Court also imposed a formal freezing order on April 12. . . on assets estimated at more than $7 billion, which are believed to be linked to Mr. Abramovich,” the government said.
The assets were either located in Jersey or held by entities incorporated on the island, according to the statement.
The sheer scale of the assets subject to the freezing order suggests the amount of wealth qu’Abramovich seems to have sheltered in offshore tax havens, where opaque corporate structures can protect investments from public view. Forbes estimates the oligarch’s net worth at $8.2 billion, while the Bloomberg Billionaires Index pegs it at $13.9 billion.
The $7 billion asset freeze against Abramovich in Jersey is just short of the $8 billion total Switzerland has seized from the 900 Russians on EU and US sanctions lists.
It’s another blow for Abramovich, who has been hit with sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine. British authorities forced him to sell Chelsea Football Club and his yachts were forced to leave ports to avoid seizure. Trading in the shares of Evraz, the steelmaker of which he was a major shareholder, remains suspended.
Jersey has previously said it is implementing all sanctions introduced by the British government following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
“By applying the sanctions, the United Kingdom can take advantage of this incredible source of financial information available via the Crown Dependencies and British territories overseas,” said Tom Keatinge, director of the Center for Financial crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute think tank. .
“Where Jersey leads, will we see the BVIs and others follow?”
Ian Gorst, Jersey’s minister for external relations and financial services, said he could not comment on matters under “active review” by the Department of Dependency Court Officers.
“The Government of Jersey continues to stand with the UK and its international partners and has implemented all UK and UN sanctions deployed in response to Russia’s actions against Ukraine,” Gorst said. “Our legislation to enforce these measures has serious criminal consequences, and any links to sanctioned entities or suspected breaches should be reported to the appropriate authorities.”
The move against Abramovich is the clearest step yet by the Channel Island government to seize some of the billions of dollars in assets of wealthy Russians widely thought to invest in the offshore center.
It was not clear on Wednesday that assets, the freeze order affected, Abramovich has moved a number of his investments to Jersey in recent years from the British Virgin Islands, an offshore haven.
The most recent accounts of Fordstam, the vehicle that controls Chelsea Football Club, show an outstanding £1.5billion loan to the company from Camberley International Investments. Camberley transferred his 2020 registration from the BVI to Jersey.
Several helicopters associated with Abramovich owned by entities registered in Jersey, as Sussurro the first superyacht oligarch bought in 1998. The Guardian reported last week that Abramovich has transferred a vehicle that Jersey had another yacht – the Aquamarine 50 meters – his associate David Davidovich day Russia invaded Ukraine.
These companies are all registered at the offices of Jersey Zedra, a corporate services provider that acts for a number of Abramovich related entities. Zedra declined to comment.
The Jersey Evening Post reported in 2018 that the Russian oligarch had been granted residency rights on the island, under a ‘high-value resident’ scheme, but Abramovich was having difficulty renewing his UK visa shortly. after.
Eugene Tenenbaum, an associate of Abramovich who has served as a director of Chelsea since the oligarch took over in 2003, is a resident of Jersey, according to UK company records.
There was no immediate response from a spokesperson for Abramovich to a request for comment.