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Oligarch Roman Abramovich transferred the ownership of his $400 million luxury jets to his children the same month Russia invaded Ukraine, FBI alleges

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Getty/Peter Macdiarmid

  • Roman Abramovich restructured the ownership of his assets the same month Russia invaded Ukraine, the FBI alleges. 
  • The move transferred two jets worth $400 million to his children, a special agent claims.  
  • US officials obtained warrants to seize the luxury jets on Monday. 

Oligarch Roman Abramovich transferred millions in assets to his children the same month Russia invaded Ukraine, an FBI agent alleged in court documents filed Monday in the Southern District of New York. 

The Russian billionaire made his children the beneficiaries of two trusts controlling a network of shell companies based in Cyprus, Jersey, and the British Virgin Islands, special agent Alan Fowler wrote. The FBI alleges this shifted legal ownership of two luxury jets worth a combined $400 million away from Abramovich before Russian sanctions hit, as the New York Post first reported.

The court documents, filed in support of a US application for a seizure warrant granted Monday, shed light on the complicated financial structures used by sanctioned individuals attempting to obscure the ownership of their foreign assets. By layering shell companies, trusts, and holding companies based in various tax havens around the world, the wealthy can achieve a certain level of buyer anonymity, as experts have previously told Insider. 

Abramovich, a longtime associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin with an estimated net worth of $11.9 billion, was sanctioned by the UK and EU in March. But the oligarch has avoided sanctions from the Biden Administration, a discrepancy that’s reportedly linked to the billionaire’s involvement in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. 

The former Chelsea FC owner is not the first member of Russia’s kleptocracy accused of using relatives to conceal their personal wealth. In March, the US sanctioned Dmitriy Sergeevich Peskov, the lead spokesperson of the Russian Federation, as well as his wife and two adult children. Peskov’s immediate family members live luxurious lifestyles “incongruous with Peskov’s civil servant salary and are likely built on the ill-gotten wealth of Peskov’s connections to Putin,” the Treasury said.

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