Private jets owned by 4 Russian oligarchs continued to fly in and out of Western countries after they were hit by sanctions, an investigation finds

Russian billionaire and businessman Roman Abramovich next to a Gulfstream G650ER ( reg. SP-TOP ) at Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport in Gdansk, Poland
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  • Jets owned by 4 Russian oligarchs still flew after sanctions and flight bans, The Guardian's investigation found.

  • The jets were linked with oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, per the investigation.

  • Usmanov's $500 million Airbus took off from Germany a day after the EU banned Russian aircraft.

Private jets belonging to four Russian oligarchs continued to fly in and out of the EU and UK even after flight bans had been imposed on all aircraft from the country, an investigation by The Guardian found.

Aircraft linked to Russian oligarchs and billionaires – such as Roman Abramovich, Alisher Usmanov, Eugene Shvidler, and Igor Shuvalov – continued to fly, despite sanctions measures banning them from EU airspace, per the newspaper's investigation, carried out in conjunction with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

On February 28, the day after the EU banned all Russian aircraft from flying in its airspace, Usmanov's two private jets departed from EU airports, the investigation found.

His Airbus A340 – reportedly worth between $350 million and $500 million – took off from Munich, Germany, on 28 February and was last located when it was landing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, according to the investigation. This was the same day that Usmanov was sanctioned by the EU.

On the same day, another jet linked to the billionaire lifted off from Florence, Italy, and flew towards Uzbekistan but its signal was lost over Turkmenistan, the investigation found.

"[We] deny there was any wrongdoing or attempt to avoid any assets being sanctioned," Usmanov's spokesperson told The Guardian.

A Bombardier Global Express jet worth $10 million linked to Shuvalov, a former Russian deputy prime minister, was also tracked continuing to fly in and out of EU airports – including Geneva, Helsinki, Milan, Munich, and Paris – despite sanctions being imposed on him and his assets on February 23, per the investigation.

The investigation found that a $45 million Bombardier Global 6500 jet, belonging to Russian oil tycoon, Shvidler, flew on February 27 from Farnborough airport, southern England, to Teterboro, New Jersey, and traveled back to Farnborough on March 4, where it was later impounded.

Shvidler's $13 million Cessna Citation Latitude jet was also seized by the UK. Shvidler's spokesperson told The Guardian that there had "never been any breaches" and that he didn't have connections with the Kremlin.

Planes linked to Chelsea Football Club owner, Roman Abramovich, have also been tracked flying around after sanctions were imposed, the investigation found, adding that his Bombardier Global 6000 jet is currently grounded in Latvia.

One of Abramovich's jets, a $65 million Gulfstream G650ER, had been flying between Moscow, Israel, and Istanbul after he was sanctioned by the UK, Insider previously reported. The plane flew back to Russia the same day that Abramovich was sanctioned by the EU.

Shvidler and Abramovich's representatives didn't respond to requests for comment from The Guardian.

The flight data collected in the investigation didn't clarify whether the Russian oligarch owner was on board, per The Guardian.

Read the original article on Business Insider