Russian oligarchs ‘heading for Jersey’ as US shines spotlight on their affairs

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich is said to have recently acquired residency rights in Jersey, following the US’s publication of the so-called ‘Putin List’ that identifies Russians who have benefited from their closeness to the Kremlin regime.

Some 210 politicians and oligarchs have been identified on the list published by the US Treasury, seen as a retaliation against allegations of Russian manipulation of and interference in the 2016 US presidential election, as well as its occupation of eastern Ukraine.

Potentially embarrassingly for Jersey, which is working hard to counter any suggestion that it is an offshore tax haven, 34 applications “high-value status” residency on the island were approved, a record for the island, as reported by the Jersey Evening Post. 

Abramovich (pictured left at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium), who is 51, is known to have business interests in Jersey but as yet there is no evidence of him buying a residential property there.

The ‘Putin List’ was drawn up after Congress passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act last August.

The 210 individuals identified comprises 114 politicians and 96 so-called ‘oligarchs’, including Abramovich and another billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, who is the owner of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team.

Interestingly, Prokhorov had not been considered to be an ally of Putin, having challenged him for the Russian leadership in the 2012 election.

Russia held back from ‘tit-for-tat’ retaliation

Politicians identified on the list include Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

When the act was signed into law by president Trump in August, Russia’s TASS news agency reported that president Putin described it as a ‘hostile step’ that targeted all Russians but that he would not retaliate for the time being.

“We expected this list,” he said, “and I won’t hide that we were ready to take tit-for-tat steps, rather serious ones, which could reduce our relations to zero.

“But we will refrain from these steps now.

Although the US Treasury emphasised that it was not planning to introduce sanctions against everyone on the list for the time being, a Kremlin spokesman said that the move could damage “the image and reputation” of those cited and, in the case of the so-called “oligarchs”, of their companies.



Eugene Costello
Eugene Costello has been a journalist for some 20 years, and has written for a wide variety of UK and international newspapers and magazines.

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