US to seize Abramovich's two luxury jets

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US authorities moved Monday to seize two luxury jets -- a $A83 million Gulfstream and a $A485 million aircraft believed to be one of the world's most expensive private airplanes -- after linking both to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

A federal magistrate judge signed a warrant authorising the seizure of the Gulfstream and a Boeing jet that authorities said was worth less than $A139 million before a lavish customisation.

The action takes place just days after the United States announced new sanctions and penalties on Russian oligarchs and elites, Kremlin officials, businessmen linked to President Vladimir Putin and their yachts, aircraft and firms that manage them.

President Joe Biden promised after Russia's February invasion of Ukraine to pursue Russian elites' "ill-gotten gains."

Abramovich, who recently sold his stake in Chelsea FC, a Premier League football club in London, is among the wealthier Russians whose assets are being watched for sanctions violations after the Ukraine invasion.

In explaining the move to seize the planes, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit that the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft and the Gulfstream G650ER plane are subject to seizure because they have been moved between March 4 and March 15 without licenses being obtained in violation of sanctions placed against Russia.

According to the affidavit, Abramovich controlled the Gulfstream through a series of shell companies. The plane, it said, is believed to have been in Moscow since March 15.

The Boeing, meanwhile, is believed to be in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, following a round trip March 4 flight from Dubai to Moscow, the affidavit said.

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