Roman Abramovich - Photo: EPA/ANDY RAIN

Portugal richest citizen slapped with economic sanctions

Roman Abramovich target of economic sanctions

Serious questions over whether strings were pulled in getting Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich his Portuguese nationality are now almost certainly the last thing on his mind.

The billionaire former politician – and presumed ‘confidant’ of Russian president Vladimir Putin – is one of seven oligarchs targeted in a new round of economic sanctions imposed by the British government.

It means that his ‘assets’ (wherever they can be found) have essentially been frozen.

Immediately, this puts the sale of Chelsea Football Club on hold – and spells huge logistical problems for the organisation.

A statement by the UK government claims “Abramovich is or has been involved in the destabilisation of Ukraine, undermining and threatening the country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence through the company Evraz PLC, a steel and mining company” of which he is a major shareholder.

According to the BBC today, the UK’s foreign secretary Liz Truss has said Britain has targeted the seven oligarchs to “ramp up pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine”.

She said: “With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression”, said the BBC report.

“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame.”

All this is slightly confusing in that only a few days ago we were told Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had actually asked Mr Abramovich to take part in peace negotiations with Russia on behalf of Ukraine (click here).

The first casualty of war is truth, as the saying goes, so we can only ‘follow the headlines’ in as much as they refer to Portugal – and in this case, Mr Abramovich is, according to Wikipedia, “the richest person in Portugal” (which again is slightly misleading as he almost certainly is not ‘in Portugal’, in spite of his Portuguese nationality on the back of purported Sephardic Jew descendancy click here).

What Wikipedia does reference however is that earlier this month, Mr Abramovich was “hastily selling his UK properties, to avoid potential financial sanctions” which he clearly must have seen coming.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com