NEW YORK (AP) — US authorities moved Monday to seize two luxury jets — a $60 million Gulfstream and a $350 million aircraft believed to be one of the world’s most expensive private airplanes — after linking both to Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich.
A federal magistrate judge signed a warrant authorizing the seizure of the Gulfstream and a Boeing jet that authorities said had been worth less than $100 million before its lavish customization.
The action takes place just days after the United States announced new sanctions and penalties on Russian oligarchs and elites, Kremlin officials, businessmen linked to President Vladimir Putin and their yachts, aircraft, and firms that manage them.
US President Joe Biden promised after Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine to pursue Russian elites’ “ill-gotten gains.”
Abramovich, who recently sold his stake in Chelsea FC, a Premier League football club in London, is among the wealthier Russians whose assets are being watched for sanctions violations after the Ukraine invasion.
In explaining the move to seize the planes, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit that the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft and the Gulfstream G650ER plane are subject to seizure because they have been moved between March 4 and March 15 without licenses being obtained in violation of sanctions placed against Russia.
According to the affidavit, Abramovich controlled the Gulfstream through a series of shell companies. The plane, it said, is believed to have been in Moscow since March 15.
The Boeing, meanwhile, is believed to be in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, following a roundtrip March 4 flight from Dubai to Moscow, the affidavit said.