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US seeks seizure of 2 luxury jets owned by Russian oligarch Abramovich over Ukraine sanctions

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US seeks seizure of 2 luxury jets owned by Russian oligarch Abramovich over Ukraine sanctions

One of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s jets is a $350 million Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which authorities say is “one of the world’s most expensive private planes.”

Kevin Johnson
 

| USA TODAY
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Ariana Triggs, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Russia’s war against Ukraine is getting increasingly more painful for billionaire Roman Abramovich.

A federal judge approved U.S. seizure warrants for two luxury aircraft owned by the Russian oligarch, including a $350 million Boeing 787 Dreamliner, for alleged export violations resulting from a wave of U.S. sanctions imposed against Moscow.

The jets, which also included a $60 million Gulfstream G650 ER, are currently out of reach of U.S. authorities, but the action formally designates the aircraft as “tainted assets” and vulnerable to seizure if the jets move to friendly jurisdictions.

For Abramovich, the blizzard of U.S. and international restrictions has already forced him to relinquish ownership in the English soccer team Chelsea.

Abramovich is accused in the latest action of export control violations, which specifically prohibit U.S.-made aircraft controlled by Russian nationals from flying into Russia after March 2 without a license.

In addition to the seizure warrants, U.S. authorities also are leveling administrative penalties against Abramovich for $321,121 for each of the three times the jets flew to Russia in March. 

Federal authorities assigned to the Justice Department’s special task force KleptoCapture, created to enforce sanctions, export restrictions and other economic countermeasures, described the Boeing aircraft as “one of the world’s most expensive private planes.”

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The aircraft was purchased by a company linked to Abramovich in 2017 for about $93.6 million. At the time, the Boeing was sold without a finished interior.

According to federal court documents, the aircraft was flown from the U.S. to Europe where it was “customized,” pushing its estimated worth to $350 million.

“Today’s action reflects the global scope of the United States’ response to illegal Russian aggression in Ukraine,” said Andrew Adams, chief of the Justice task force.

“While we seek to execute on these warrants, the Task Force eagerly anticipates working with international partners to uphold the rule of law and reminds members of the aviation, insurance, and financial industries that these aircraft constitute tainted property under active investigation by the United States.”

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