Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich looks on after their 3-1 win during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on December 19, 2015 in London, England.
Clive Mason | beautiful pictures
Finance Minister Janet Yellen said Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich “could face sanctions”, despite his claims to be a peace broker between Ukraine and Russia.
Abramovich, the most famous tycoon in the West, has been sanctioned by Britain, the European Union and Canada. But questions revolved around why the US was slow to act. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky advised President Biden to stop punishing Abramovich, who he said could act as a middle man with Russia to negotiate peace, According to The Wall Street Journal.
The article said the Treasury Department had prepared sanctions against Abramovich, but the White House National Security Council had requested a postponement.
Secretary Yellen told CNBC on Friday that Abramovich could still face sanctions.
“I would leave the door open to the possibility – certainly not very likely – that he or other individuals may face future sanctions,” she said.
Yellen declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal report or Abramovich’s effectiveness as a peace broker. The Financial Times reported today that Vladimir Putin personally approved Abramovich’s participation in peace talks in Russia.
“I will not comment on the calculation of what exactly determines whether he is sanctioned,” Yellen said. “I’m just saying it’s still a possibility.”
The Abramovich controversy only adds to his highly controversial and public profile in the West. With a fleet of yachts, private jets, ownership of Chelsea FC and prestigious real estate in London, Aspen, St.
Abramovich is racing to sell Chelsea for $4 billion, which already belongs to two top bidding groups – one led by co-owner and Los Angeles Dodgers investor Todd Boehly and the other led by directors Private equity Josh Harris and David Blitzer head. He is also trying to sell his London mansion. A property near Aspen, still in his name, possibly one of the first US assets to be frozen if he is sanctioned by the Biden administration.
Two of Abramovich’s superyachts – Eclipse and Solaris – have arrived in Turkey, which has so far refused to sanction or freeze the wealth of the oligarchs. While it is not clear where Abramovich currently resides, private jet linked to him has been tracked from Israel to Turkey and he is said to have an eye on real estate in Dubai.
Abramovich’s role as a mediator and adviser to Putin contradicts one of his longstanding statements. His legal and PR teams have for years contested the label “financier,” arguing that Abramovich has no influence over Putin or policies.
After buying Chelsea in 2003, he told the Financial Times that he had “no special relationship” with the Russian president.
Yellen said the US will probably punish more oligarchs, as they are both sources of influence and money for Putin.
“I think the oligarchs can have some influence on President Putin’s thinking,” she said. “And they provided the resources to allow Putin to wage a war like this. So, you know, the influence, the sanctions that we put on them, I think. is appropriate and will hopefully make sense.”