Sanctioned Oligarch Roman Abramovich Spotted at Israel Airport: Report

  • Abramovich was spotted at an Israel airport on Monday, Reuters reported.
  • Flight-tracking data shows a jet linked to the oligarch flew from Israel to Turkey the same day.
  • It’s unclear whether Abramovich boarded the flight to Turkey on Monday, Reuters reported.

Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who was sanctioned by the UK last week, was spotted at an airport in Israel on Monday before a private jet linked to him flew to Turkey, Reuters first reported.

A photograph seen by Reuters showed the billionaire sitting in a VIP lounge in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport with his face mask pulled down.

On the same day, a Gulfstream G650ER jet, with the registration LX-RAY, flew from Ben Gurion Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, data from Flightradar24 showed. Media reports have suggested that Abramovich is the owner of the jet, which costs $65 million, according to a private-jet comparison site.

Reuters said it couldn’t independently verify if Abramovich boarded the flight to Turkey. Turkey has criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but has also opposed sanctions imposed on Russia, according to the newswire.

The report on Abramovich’s whereabouts offers a glimpse into how the wealthiest Russians may be attempting to move themselves and their assets to safe havens in order to put them out of the reach of sanctions.

Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs who were sanctioned by the UK on Thursday as part of efforts to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin and cripple his country’s economy after the Kremlin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks as billionaire and businessman Roman Abramovich (L) looks on during a meeting with top businessmen

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks as Abramovich looks on during a meeting with top businessmen in 2016.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The sanctions mean Abramovich’s assets are frozen in the UK and he is banned from doing business there. It also means he can’t proceed with the sale of his English Premier League soccer team, Chelsea FC.

Abramovich — who Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index estimated has a net worth of $13.6 billion — was reportedly granted Israeli citizenship in 2018 after facing delays in renewing his UK visa.

Israel’s government hasn’t sanctioned any Russian oligarchs yet, The Times of Israel reported. But it’s trying to keep oligarchs sanctioned by other countries out of the country, The Washington Post reported. Private airplanes are now limited to 48 hours on the ground in the country, according to the paper.

“Israel will not be a route to bypass sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western countries,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during a visit to Slovakia on Monday, The Post reported.

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