UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new economic sanctions against Russia this evening, in response to their full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, but despite some calls in Parliament, Roman Abramovich has not been named personally in them.
In addition to general measures, the sanctions are supposed to target “more than 100 companies and oligarchs at the heart of Putin’s regime” with “asset freezes and travel bans” but the only named persons are five from “Putin’s inner circle”, who do not include the Chelsea owner.
The full list of the affected people and companies is expected to be released by the Foreign Office at some point, and may yet include Abramovich, but one would assume that he were subject to significant sanctions personally, he would’ve been called out specifically in the announcement. Then again, assuming anything in this situation may be unwise.
The new sanctions do freeze assets of various Russian banks, including VTB, the largest. Frozen assets mean that they cannot be used to conduct any business in the UK or with UK nationals. Similar sanctions were announced by the US and Canada as well.
This is not the same as the government “seizing” Abramovich’s assets — whatever portion of those may be in these banks, which may not be very big in the grand scheme of things, or in the UK specifically, which would include Chelsea — as had been advocated for by a few politicians as well.
Even if that were to happen, the most immediate effect would be Abramovich not being able to keep pouring money into the club. (And then probably a forced sale to some other wealthy individual or group?)
For now, neither Chelsea nor Abramovich are making any comment on this situation.