Ukraine invasion: UK MP calls for sanctions on Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich
Speaking at the House of Commons on Thursday, Labour MP Chris Bryant used his parliamentary privilege to read aloud from a document he said was published by the UK Home Office in 2019.
According to Bryant, the document said Abramovich was “of interest… due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices”.
"Surely Mr. Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country?”, Bryant asked.
Replying to Bryant, senior minister Mark Spencer said the government had taken "very strong action against high-profile Russian individuals who are of concern".
Abramovich, who made much of his wealth from state-owned assets acquired after the collapse of the Soviet Union, purchased English football club Chelsea FC in 2003. He has repeatedly denied having ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sanctions on three Russian billionaires earlier this week, after Putin said he recognised two Ukrainian breakaway regions.
Johnson incorrectly told the House of Commons that Abramovich was already facing British sanctions.
The billionaire’s daughter, Sofia Abramovich, took to Instagram to share a post criticising Putin.
“The biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russians stand with Putin,” read the graphic she shared on her Instagram story on Friday, originally posted by @russia.reality.
Russia launched a ground invasion of Ukraine on Thursday. Russian troops have reached the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
Companies under Abramovich’s control have previously been accused of donating tens of millions of dollars to an Israeli settler organisation accused of forcing Palestinian families out of occupied East Jerusalem.