UK impounds private jet connected to Russian billionaire

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Grant Shapps today confirmed that the British government has seized a private jet at Farnborough Airport suspected of having ties to a Russian billionaire.

Yesterday morning, the Transport Secretary targeted the plane linked to Eugene Shvidler and banned it from leaving Britain.

Mr. Shvidler is a close associate of Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club.

The move comes on days of criticism that the UK did not do enough to attack Russian assets following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ministers announced new aviation sanctions overnight to give the government new powers to detain any Russian aircraft in the UK.

An already announced ban on the overflying or landing of Russian aircraft in the UK has been tightened, and new laws now criminalize it.

The ban applies to any aircraft owned, operated or chartered by anyone associated with Russia or designated persons or entities.

It includes the power to detain any aircraft owned by persons associated with Russia.

The government will also be able to remove aircraft belonging to designated Russian persons and entities from the UK aircraft register so that they cannot take off.

Grant Shapps confirmed today that the British government has seized a private jet linked to a Russian billionaire at Farnborough Airport

Grant Shapps confirmed today that the British government has seized a private jet linked to a Russian billionaire at Farnborough Airport

Yesterday morning, the transport minister targeted the plane linked to Eugene Shvidler and banned it from leaving Britain

Yesterday morning, the transport minister targeted the plane linked to Eugene Shvidler and banned it from leaving Britain

Yesterday morning, the transport minister targeted the plane linked to Eugene Shvidler and banned it from leaving Britain

Mr Shapps told BBC Breakfast: ‘As early as the very first day of this invasion, Thursday two weeks ago, I banned Aeroflot, banned commercial airlines, and private jets the next day.

“So they weren’t allowed already. However, there were potential loopholes and I also wanted to criminalize the matter.

“So last night I also signed a law closing some of the loopholes involved in trying to find out ownership of some of these planes.

“There is currently one such plane on the ground in Farnborough that I have essentially seized as we investigate further over the past few days and it is very important that we have the laws in place to make that possible.”

He later told LBC Radio: ‘We know that it is not a Russian company that owns the aircraft, but rather a Luxembourg-registered aircraft.

“We are making further checks before we release it and what we will not do is allow Russian oligarchs to pass that plane when it finally takes off.”

A source said last night: ‘Grant is determined to ground any jet-set oligarch who thinks he can use the UK as a stopover.

“But it takes time to establish ownership of some of these flying gin palaces. Registration and shell companies in third countries often hide the real owner. It is the work of a true detective.

“If there are reasonable grounds to suspect Russian involvement, we will work within the law to prevent that plane from flying.”

On Friday morning, the private jet linked to Mr Shvidler landed at Farnborough airport, and the Department of Transport was alerted. The aircraft was a Bombardier Global Express aircraft.

As a result of a Restriction of Flying Order signed by Mr Shapps last week, Russian aircraft owned, registered or chartered by persons residing in Russia cannot overfly or land in the UK.

However, it is not clear whether this aircraft – or even Mr Shvidler – falls under that definition. The complications arose as a result of Mr Shvidler’s stay (he is a dual US-Russian citizen, possibly also holding a British passport), and determining the real owner of the jet.

But the Transport Minister felt there was sufficient suspicion to investigate further and asked officials to do so.

On Monday, the plane submitted a flight plan and was scheduled to depart at noon yesterday.

But in the wee hours of the morning, Mr Shapps ordered that the Foreign Carrier Permit attached to the flight be revoked, meaning the jet could no longer leave the UK with passengers.

It meant that Mr Shvidler could not leave the UK on his jet and had to find alternative means of leaving the country.

Later on Tuesday morning, Mr Shapps decided he wanted more time to investigate ownership of the jet. He ordered officials to investigate a new flight order restriction that applies to this particular type of jet, which is located in Farnborough, effectively preventing it from taking off.

This gives officials more time to investigate ownership to ensure the jet does not violate the original flight restriction or the new aviation sanctions.

Officials admitted the plane may be able to depart today once it proves the owners are not Russian.

But they said the transport minister had taken the action to show that the UK will keep a close eye on all planes landing in the country to ensure sanctions are followed, and to protect those close to Putin. -regime, to frustrate.

Mr Shivdler is closely linked to Mr Abramovich, whose private jet ‘Bandit’ took off from the UK last week, before the government could implement its flight order restriction.

The jet is registered in Luxembourg, apparently with a company called Global Jet Luxembourg.

It is said to have flown to Basel from Stansted after Aeroflot was banned from British airspace, but before all aircraft linked to Russia were banned.

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