Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

Jets linked to Russian oligarchs appear to have kept flying despite sanctions

Jets linked to Russian oligarchs appear to have kept flying despite sanctions

Exclusive: Guardian data investigation finds flurry of movement after invasion of Ukraine, with many flights to UAE

Private jets linked to Russian oligarchs and officials appeared to continue flying into and out of EU and UK airports despite flight bans and sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a Guardian data investigation found.

The investigation, in collaboration with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), identified and tracked jets linked to sanctioned businesspeople and officials including Roman Abramovich, Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov, a former Russian deputy prime minister.

While some plane movements appeared to comply with airspace bans and sanctions, including asset freezes, others appeared to escape restrictions.

Guardian analysis also showed jets linked to Russians under sanctions flew to the United Arab Emirates in greater numbers during the week after the start of the invasion than any other week of 2022.

The UAE is popular with Russians as a finance and leisure centre.

Movements of jets linked to oligarchs under sanctions

Flight data does not indicate who was on board

Jets linked to Shuvalov were tracked flying into and out of EU airports after sanctions were imposed by the bloc on 23 February, the day before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

His Bombardier Global Express jet, registration LX-ABC, made several flights between Geneva, Munich, Paris, Milan and Helsinki after that date, according to data provided by the flight tracking service Flightradar24. The records do not include details of who was on board the plane, which typically sells for $10m (£7.6m).

EU sanctions rules allow those targeted by the restrictions to make payments to meet “basic needs” such as legal fees but do not mention expenses associated with the movements of private planes, such as buying jet fuel.

The Uzbekistan-born billionaire Usmanov, who is a former 30% shareholder in Arsenal and the owner of USM, which was a major sponsor of Everton football club until earlier this month, is linked to two other multimillion-pound jets.

Both planes flew out of EU airports after “Russian-owned, Russian-registered or Russian-controlled aircraft” were banned from EU airspace by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, according to data from ADS-B Exchange, a website that collects live aircraft transponder data.

Usmanov’s Airbus A340, the commercial version of which can seat 370 passengers, left Munich on the evening of 28 February and was last recorded descending over Tashkent that night.

The jet, which is decorated with distinctive maroon livery, cost between $350m and $500m and is one of the largest private jets in Russia, according to the US Treasury, which said its tail number, M-IABU, stands for “I’m Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov”.

The flight took place the day after the EU flight ban was imposed and the same day Usmanov was added to the bloc’s sanctions list.

An Airbus A340 linked to the Uzbekistan-born billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

The second jet left Florence in Italy the same day and was also heading towards Uzbekistan when the transponder signal was lost over Turkmenistan.

A spokesperson for Usmanov said sanctions against him were based on “incorrect” assumptions about his relationship with the Kremlin, adding that his assets, including private jets, had been transferred to irrevocable trusts long before sanctions were imposed against the billionaire.

“[We] deny there was any wrongdoing or attempt to avoid any assets being sanctioned,” the spokesperson said. “Given the fact that the MI-ABU jet you invoked is not owned or controlled by Mr Usmanov, and could only be used by him on lease terms, there is no legal grounds for any ban on it in relation to the individual sanctions imposed against him.

“Regarding compliance with the rules of aircraft departures, our detailed legal analysis found no violations. To the best of our knowledge, the departure was made in accordance with the permission of the authorised authority of the country from which the aircraft departed.”

The spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry about whether Usmanov was onboard either of the flights.

While some of the jets remain out of the reach of authorities despite being linked to oligarchs under sanctions, other aircraft have already been seized or barred from flying.

Jets linked to Abramovich have also been active in the weeks since the Ukraine invasion, which has resulted in the Chelsea FC owner being sanctioned by the UK and the EU.

One, a Bombardier Global 6000, registration LX-LUX, is now grounded in Latvia, denied permission to leave by the authorities pending confirmation of its ownership by authorities in Luxembourg, where the plane is registered.

If it is found to belong to Abramovich, who has been linked to at least three other private jets, it will be considered a frozen asset, Aivis Vincevs, of Latvia’s Civil Aviation Agency, told the news website Re:Baltica.

A close associate of Abramovich, Eugene Shvidler, has also had two jets seized by UK authorities, at London Biggin Hill and Farnborough airports.

One jet had flown from Biggin Hill to Farnborough on 27 February, according to the Flightradar24 data. The jet also made a transatlantic flight to a small airport outside New York later on 27 February, returning to Farnborough on 4 March.

A UK flight ban on Russian aircraft came into effect two days earlier.

A spokesperson for Shvidler said there had “never been any breaches” and that he was not a Russian citizen and did not have any ties to the Kremlin.

Aircraft that visited the UAE include some of those linked in previous reports to Abramovich and the Ukrainian opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as Russian businesspeople Andrey Guryev, Andrey Melnichenko and Oleg Deripaska.

The UAE has been described as the “Switzerland of the Persian Gulf” by organisations including Tax Justice Network, owing to its high degree of banking secrecy, suggesting oligarchs barred from other financial centres may have travelled there to organise their financial affairs.

Skyscrapers of Dubai.

A jet reportedly linked to Melnichenko, a billionaire whose superyacht was seized by Italian authorities earlier this month, flew to Dubai on 9 March, according to Flightradar data. The Boeing 737 is currently under investigation in Luxembourg, where it is registered.

A spokesperson for Melnichenko said he was an international self-made entrepreneur who had “no relation to the tragic events in Ukraine”.

“He has no political affiliations. There is no justification whatsoever for placing him on any sanctions lists.”

A spokesperson for Deripaska said sanctions against him were “deeply misguided”.

“The decision to sanction Mr Deripaska has nothing to do with justice or law, neither does the freezing of assets belonging to him or his family. Therefore, as he already stated on his Twitter account, it will be for the courts and the police to discover the true origins and beneficiaries of this decision.”

Spokespeople for Abramovich, Shuvalov, Medvedchuk and Guryev did not return requests for comment.


Related Articles

Budapest Post
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Bordeaux town hall set on fire in France pro democracy protest
Police violence in Paris
Paris: Some of the police are stepping down and showing solidarity with the protesters.
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
Orbán Viktor: the restructuring of the power relations in the whole of Europe is taking place
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
"Will Fly Wherever International Law Allows": US Warns Russia After Drone Incident
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
Drew Barrymore
China is calling out the US, UK, and Australia on their submarine pact, claiming they are going further down a dangerous road
A brief banking situation report
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Fitness scam
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
Silicon Valley Bank: Struggles Threaten Tech Startup Ecosystem"
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...
Hello. Here is our news digest from London.
Corruption and Influence Buying Uncovered in International Mainstream Media: Investigation Reveals Growing Disinformation Mercenaries
European MP Clare Daly condemns US attack on Nord Stream
Former U.S. President Carter will spend his remaining time at home and receive hospice care instead of medication
Tucker Carlson called Trump a 'demonic force'
Kamala Harris: "The United States has formally determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity."
US Joins 15 NATO Nations in Largest Space Data Collection Initiative in History
Lufthansa flights cancelled and re-routed after IT Outage caused by construction work in Frankfurt! Chaos ensues!
White House: No ETs over the United States
Saray Street in Hatay-Antakya before and after the earthquake
U.S. Jet Shoots Down Flying Object Over Canada
Nord Stream terror attack: David Sacks breaks down Sy Hersh's story
Being a Tiktoker might be expensive…
Miracle: El Salvador Search and Rescue teams, with the support of Turkish teams, rescued a woman and a child from the rubble 150 hours after the earthquake
SpaceX, the private space exploration company, made a significant breakthrough in their mission to reach space.
China's top tech firms, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, NetEase, and, are developing their own versions of Open AI's AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT
This shocking picture, showing how terrible is the results of the earthquake in Turkey