DOJ moves to seize 2 planes from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich

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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is seen on the stand during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on December 19, 2015 in London, England.

Clive Mason | Getty Images

A federal judge in New York on Monday signed a warrant authorizing the seizure by the Justice Department of two jets owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

The seizure effort is the latest in a series of sanctions and economic attacks on Russian billionaires in response to their nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

The jets tied to Abramovich are a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, and a Gulfstream G650ER, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Prosecutors said that both planes were flown in March to Russia, in violation of U.S. export restrictions imposed on the heels of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The Boeing, which according to court records is worth a whopping $350 million, is currently in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

The Gulfstream is in Russia, according to court records.

According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent, Abramovich “owned and/or controlled the Gulfstream and the Boeing through a series of shell companies.”

A chart detailing the ownership of planes lists Abramovich as the beneficiary of an entity in Cyprus named “The Europa Settlement Trust,” which in turn had ownership and control of an entity called Wotten Overseas Holdings Limited in the island country of Jersey.

Wotton, in turn, had ownership of a Jersey-based shell company called Clear Skies Flights Limited, which owned the Gulfstream, the affidavit says. Wotton also owns another shell, Wenham Overseas Limited, which is based in the British Virgin Islands, and which owns the Boeing jet.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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