European Union diplomats have agreed to add Roman Abramovich to the EU list of Russian billionaires sanctioned following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, according to two sources.
Envoys were expected to reconvene at 11am on Monday to adopt the measure and a further set of economic sanctions against Russia, a report by Reuters said.
The sanctions will come into effect after publication of the EU’s official journal, which usually happens within hours or the
day following formal approval.
The Chelsea football club owner was sanctioned in the UK last week with the British government saying the move was due to Mr Abramovich having a “close relationship for decades” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The new sanctions by the EU will hit people active in the Russian steel industry and others who provide financial services, military products and technology to the Russian state, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday.
One EU diplomat said no concerns were raised about the new sanctions, suggesting Mr Abramovich’s listings “will go through” and a second official said the billionaire holds a Portuguese passport and Portugal could in principle refrain from imposing the sanctions decided at the EU level.
The sanctions came as Evraz – the UK-listed steel and coal business part-owned by Mr Abramovich – was deleted from London stock indices together with three other Russia-focused companies and 10 members of the companies board quit last week after sanctions were imposed on the billionaire by the UK government.
The UK sanctions have also impacted last season’s Champions League winners Chelsea, who have been thrown into disarray since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In other developments
Mr Abramovich initially proposed to place the club in the care of its foundation and then put it up for sale for £3bn, with several billionaires including property Nick Candy linked with the takeover.
However, the sanctions imposed on him in the UK means his sale of the club may not be possible.
The Stamford Bridge club will be given a special licence to continue operating, under limited terms and will be unable to sell new tickets, sign players or extend contracts and open retail outfits.
The sale of the club could still go ahead if the government issues another licence.
On 11 March, Chelsea’s bank account was temporarily suspended by Barclays while it assess the licence which Chelsea has been given and sponsors including Three UK and Hyundai suspended their association with the club.
Chelsea, who play Lille in France on Wednesday, are hopeful the suspension will be lifted shortly.