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Ro-man down Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich sanctioned by UK over ties with Vladimir Putin

The British Government hit the Chelsea owner with an asset freeze after weeks of pressure to act over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Roman Abramovich, pictured, is keen to oversee a smooth transition of Chelsea’s ownership to keep the club in rude health (Adam Davy/PA)

Roman Abramovich, pictured, is keen to oversee a smooth transition of Chelsea’s ownership to keep the club in rude health (Adam Davy/PA)

Roman Abramovich, pictured, is keen to oversee a smooth transition of Chelsea’s ownership to keep the club in rude health (Adam Davy/PA)

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK for his links to Vladimir Putin as the British Government pressures Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Described as a pro-Kremlin oligarch, Mr Abramovich was hit with an asset freeze and a travel ban in an updated sanctions list published on Thursday after ministers came under sustained pressure to target him.

The Government document says he has had a “close relationship for decades” with the Russian president, something Mr Abramovich has in the past denied.

“This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the government of Russia,” it says.

Abramovich, 55, put Chelsea up for sale on March 2 in the wake of Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

He has owned Chelsea since 2003 and has always staunchly denied any current political links to Russia’s ruling elite, but Boris Johnson’s Government has now frozen all his UK assets.

Chelsea will be given a special licence to continue operation, but the sale of the Stamford Bridge club is now on hold.

Oleg Deripaska, an industrialist worth £2 billion who has had close links with the British political establishment, is also hit along with five others in the updated sanctions list.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine.

“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people.

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