An oligarch described as Roman Abramovich’s “right-hand man” has been sanctioned along with a director of Chelsea FC with an estimated £10bn asset freeze, the biggest in UK history.
David Davidovich and Eugene Tenenbaum are longstanding business associates of Abramovich, Chelsea’s outgoing owner, the Foreign Office said.
The move means a total of 106 oligarchs, family members and associates have been sanctioned since the war in Ukraine started in February.
Mr Tenenbaum is a director at Chelsea FC and has described himself as one of Mr Abramovich’s closest business associates.
The Foreign Office said corporate filings show that he took control of Evrington Investments, an Abramovich-linked investment company, on 24 February immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Davidovich has been described as “Abramovich’s much lower profile right-hand man” and took over Evrington Investments from Mr Tenenbaum in March, the Foreign Office said.
Mr Davidovich is now subject to an asset freeze and travel ban.
The Foreign Office said the estimated £10bn in sanctions on the two men represents the biggest asset freeze in UK history.
The sanctions will prevent the money from being repatriated to Russia and being used to fund President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
On the new sanctions, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “We are tightening the ratchet on Putin’s war machine and targeting the circle of people closest to the Kremlin. We will keep going with sanctions until Putin fails in Ukraine. Nothing and no one is off the table.”
The sanctions on Mr Tenenbaum and Mr Davidovich came after the Channel Island of Jersey said this week it is freezing an estimated $7bn (£5.4bn) of assets suspected to be connected to Mr Abramovich.
The 55-year-old, who is best known as the owner of Chelsea FC, put the club up for sale days before he was hit with sanctions by the UK government in March.
The Russian oligarch has long-denied links to the Putin regime but has not publicly spoken out against the war since it broke out.
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Superyachts linked to Mr Abramovich have been docked in southwest Turkey where they will not face sanctions.
However, nations including Antigua and Barbuda have agreed to help Britain sixteen yachts owned by the businessman.
Analysis shows Russia is heading for the deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union with £275 billion – 60% of Russian foreign currency reserves – currently frozen.