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at risk UK refuse to rule out sanctions on Chelsea owner Abramovich as Russia tensions escalate


Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich

Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich

Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich may be at risk of UK sanctions if tensions with Moscow over Ukraine continue to escalate, with the British foreign secretary refusing to rule out such a move.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson mistakenly said Abramovich had already been sanctioned during comments to Parliament on Tuesday. While Johnson's spokesman later corrected that error, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was pressed on the issue during television interviews early Wednesday and repeatedly declined to rule out taking action against Abramovich.

"We have more individuals on our list, who we are ready to sanction," Truss told LBC radio. "Nobody is off the table." Speaking to Sky News, she refused three times to deny Abramovich could be sanctioned in future. "Viewers can be assured that we have more individuals that we will target in the event of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine," she said.

Abramovich, 55, has a net worth of more than $15 billion, according to data collected by Bloomberg. In the U.K., he is most associated with his ownership of Chelsea Football Club, the current European soccer champions. The club's fortunes were transformed when he took control in 2003, with Chelsea immediately becoming major players in the player transfer market.

On Tuesday, Britain hit five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals with sanctions under a "first barrage" of punitive measures over its actions in Ukraine, with the UK anticipating Putin will amount a full-scale invasion.

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