Ukraine Crisis: The United States Obtains Warrant for Seizure of Roman Abramovich’s Jets

Stephan Tournay, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – The United States has obtained a warrant for the seizure of two of Roman Abramovich’s jets due to sanctions caused by the Ukraine Crisis.

Such a seizure has been warranted due to Abramovich’s connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has been widely advertised in the last 20 years.

These Aircraft Can’t Hide: Authorities…

Commenting on the seizure was the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams:

“Today’s affidavit and warrant demonstrate the Southern District’s commitment to bring to bear every legal tool available for enforcement of sanctions and export controls imposed in response to Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine.”

“Our international partners — nations devoted to the rule of law — far outnumber those jurisdictions where these aircraft can safely hide, and our investigation of illegal exports in violation of U.S. law will continue unabated.”

Also commenting on the seizure was Michael Driscoll, the FBI Assistant Director:

“These wealthy Russian oligarchs have helped foster an environment that enabled Russia to pursue its deadly war in Ukraine.”

“The seizure of their valuable possessions, including these two aircraft, is just one way the U.S government holds accountable those who break U.S. laws and support Russia in its attempt to conquer a sovereign nation.  Our work has only just begun and we won’t back away.”

The Aircraft Are Still in Russia…

Whilst this announcement may be all glamorous, both aircraft are not in the possession of the United States Government at this time.

The two aircraft in question are:

Stephan Tournay, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Carlos Miguel Seabra via
  • P4-BDL – a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner valued at $350m.
  • LX-RAY – a Gulfstream G650ER valued at $60m.

P4-BDL was flown to Russia on March 4, 2022, and currently resides in the United Arab Emirates, and LX-RAY was flown to Russia on March 12 and 15, without a Bureau of Industry Security license, or BIS.

For P4-BDL, it is probably going to be easier for that aircraft to be seized in the UAE as opposed to LX-RAY, which is still in Russia at this time.

There will be no doubt that the U.S will work with the UAE to make this more of a reality.

It is understood that the U.S authorities are seeking to incur penalties on Mr. Abramovich for twice the value of both aircraft, which would amount to $820m.

Abramovich’s ownership of the two jets is through a series of shell companies based in Cyprus, Jersey, and the British Virgin Islands.

What Next?

The next steps will probably be to seize P4-BDL first before waiting for LX-RAY to fly out of Russia so then the capture of the aircraft becomes more likely.

It will be interesting to see how long this will take the U.S authorities to complete this, and what sort of cooperation they will have with the rest of the world in achieving this.

Looking ahead, this isn’t really great news for Abramovich as the penalties incurred through such BIS violations are going to be a big sum.

However, with him being an oligarch, this may turn out to be pocket change in the reality of someone who still lives a rich life, regardless on whether he has lost out on his football club.

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