Russian plane: UK blocks another plane linked to Russian oligarchs
The UK has blocked the use of another plane with links to Russian oligarchs, the Transport Secretary has said, as part of efforts to crack down on those who benefited from Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Grant Shapps did not provide further details about the plane or its owner, but said the decision was made on Saturday morning.
He added that the UK “will not sit idly by and watch those who have made millions through Putin’s sponsorship live their lives in peace while innocent blood is shed”.
It comes after a private jet grounded with possible routes to Russia on March 19.
In the incident, the Cessna plane was prevented from taking off from London Biggin Hill Airport while it was investigated to determine if it was in breach of sanctions banning all Russian-linked planes .
On March 8, a private jet believed to be linked to a Russian oligarch was seized at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire hours before it was to fly to Dubai.
The plane was stopped on the orders of Mr Shapps to allow an investigation into his links with billionaire oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, a friend of Roman Abramovich.
A government source said Mr Shvidler, who was later added to the UK’s sanctions list, was ‘free to continue his journey by other means’ after the plane was seized.
Mr Shapps announced on March 8 that he was making it a criminal offense for Russian-owned, operated or chartered planes, including private jets, to enter British airspace after the invasion of the Ukraine by Mr Putin.
A £38million superyacht was also detained in London this week.
British officials boarded Phi – owned by a Russian businessman – at Canary Wharf in east London on Tuesday.
The vessel was the first to be detained in the UK under sanctions imposed during the war in Ukraine.
Mr Shapps said at the time the boat was in London for a ‘refit’ but was ‘not going anywhere’.
He said: “This is just another indication that we will not sit idly by while Putin’s cronies are allowed to sail around the world in these types of yachts and Ukrainians suffer.
“When you see what it’s doing to Ukraine, when you see what it’s doing to people’s lives, it’s not fair to have a yacht like this here in London, capable of just navigate, and that’s why we confiscated and denied its ability to go anywhere at this time.