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HomeWorldAmid seizure threats: Chelsea FC owner Abramovich moves £1 bln superyachts,  £49 mln...

Amid seizure threats: Chelsea FC owner Abramovich moves £1 bln superyachts,  £49 mln private jet from sanction zone 

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Chelsea FC owner, Roman Abramovich is on the run from sanctions and may have fled to Moscow as his £1 billion of yachts head for safe Turkish waters after the EU decided to punish him over Ukraine and he faces a dwindling number of havens for his £12 billion of cash and assets.

The billionaire oligarch looked grey, tired and thin as he appeared to flee Tel Aviv in his private jet yesterday lunchtime – just hours after Israel said it will not be a safe place for sanctioned oligarchs.

The Chelsea football club owner was pictured in the VIP lounge of Ben Gurion Airport staring intently at his phone with a face mask pulled over his chin shortly before the aircraft took off for Turkey. Last night the same plane took off for Russia, landing in Moscow at around 3am UK time this morning.

The flights put the £49 million Gulfstream beyond the reach of Israel and the European Union, which yesterday agreed to sanction Abramovich.

Last night a BBC Panorama documentary accused him of being ‘Putin’s money man’ and said it had uncovered new evidence about alleged corrupt deals that made his gigantic fortune. One expert claimed he had ‘stolen billions’ from the Russian taxpayer. His lawyers insist there is no basis for alleging he amassed wealth through criminality.

And now the EU is sanctioning him because they claim his cash is oiling the machines of Russia’s war. Politico, who says they have seen a draft of the document, claims it says Abramovich enjoys ‘privileged access’ to Vladimir Putin and these ‘very good relations’ line his own pockets in industries that offered ‘a substantial source of revenue’ to the Kremlin, helping Moscow fund its invasion of Ukraine.

The UK sanctioned him last week because the UK government suspected that Evraz, the steel giant he controls, is alleged to have supplied steel to produce Putin’s army of tanks.

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Today his £445 million superyacht Solaris is travelling in a straight line apparently to remain in international waters after fleeing Montenegro waters for Turkey yesterday, after the Balkan nation promised to mirror EU sanctions.

Staff at the exclusive Porto Montenegro Marina, in the coastal town Tivat, told MailOnline they had been told to seize the boat if it docked.

Solaris is currently motoring out of the Adriatic and into the Mediterranean between Italy and Albania, and will avoid the coast of Greece. It is expected to arrive in Turkey by the end of the week.

His other boat, the 533ft Eclipse, worth £537million, is also sailing east after leaving the Caribbean island of St Martin last week. The island is part of the EU and would have been able to be seized in port. It is currently heading east above the coast of Libya, and may also be heading for Turkey.

Abramovich flew his luxury Boeing 767, nicknamed ‘The Bandit’, out of London Stansted before a UK ban on the Russian private plane came into force. He has another jet, now believed to be in Dubai.

It came as his beloved Chelsea FC is in turmoil and could be forced into administration before the end of the season unless a buyer is found. The Government may take charge of sale and agree it without asking Abramovich and ensuring he doesn’t see a penny of the proceeds.

BBC Panorama, in a documentary aired last night, said it had been passed a document showing the Russian authorities wanted to charge Abramovich with fraud in the 1990s. The leaked file, held by Russian law enforcement, claimed the government was cheated out of £2 billion in a major oil deal.

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