Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reporteldy in the process of selling his London property, Parliament has heard.
MP Chris Bryant, who last week called for him to be banned from owning the club and to have his home seized, claimed Abramovich is making the move because he is “terrified of being sanctioned”.
The Chelsea owner issued a statement over the weekend detailing plans to hand over “stewardship and care” of the club to its charitable trust, amid calls for sanctions to be imposed on individuals with ties to Russia president Vladimir Putin.
Abramovich has denied links with Putin, who has sanctioned a number of missile strikes on Ukraine, and representatives for the Chelsea owner have been contacted for comment on Bryant’s claims about the property.
“The government has said, quite rightly, that it wants to sanction Duma [Russian Assembly] members, and it wants to sanction members of the Russian Federation Council, but it’s not been able to do so yet,” Bryant said.
“Alisher Usmanov has already been sanctioned by the EU but not yet by the UK, and I suspect he’ll be pretty soon on a UK list, and Everton should certainly be cutting ties with him already
“Roman Abramovich – well, I think he’s terrified of being sanctioned, which is why he’s already going to sell his home tomorrow, and sell another flat as well.
“My anxiety is we’re taking too long about these things,” the MP for Rhondda continued.
“Now, I’d have a suggestion on what might help. I fear that the government is frightened of letters, lawyers’ letters from all these oligarchs’ friends, [and] one way to circumvent that is if ministers just read into the record in a proceeding in Parliament, all the sanction criteria, and then they’d be protected.”