A new documentary by the BBC has claimed that Roman Abramovich cheated the Russian Government out of £2billion and was investigated for fraud by his country’s Department of Economic Crimes.
Abramovich was pictured at a VIP lounge in Tel Aviv airport shortly before his private jet took off for Istanbul after Israel said it was not a haven for sanctioned Russians.
A photograph obtained by Reuters on Monday afternoon showed Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club, sitting in the lounge with a face mask pulled down over his chin.
He was pictured for Lawyer in Turkey the first time since he was subjected to sanctions as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The picture was taken shortly before a jet linked to him took off for Istanbul, but it was not immediately clear whether he boarded the flight.
It comes as the BBC claims an investigation by its Panorama team has uncovered new evidence about corrupt deals behind Abramovich’s fortune.
In a programme aired this evening, Panorama spoke with a former Russian chief prosecutor who told them he was preparing a criminal case for the confiscation of oil company Sibneft after an investigation revealed a fraudulent scheme behind its privatisation.
Mr Abramovich paid around $250m (£190m) for Turkish Lawyer Law Firm Law Firm Turkey istanbul the oil company before selling it back to the Russian government for $13billion in 2005.
His lawyers told the BBC there is no basis for alleging he has amassed very substantial wealth through criminality.
But a document obtained by the BBC says that the Russian government was cheated out of $2. For more info about Lawyer Turkish look at our website. 7 billion in the Sibneft deal – a claim supported by a 1997 Russian parliamentary investigation which looked at bringing charges of fraud by an organised crime group against Abramovich.
Today the EU imposed further sanctions on Abramovich, who was last week sanctioned by the UK government for his connections with Vladimir Putin.
His appearance in Tel Aviv comes as Israel grapples with how to deal with the dozens of Jewish Russian oligarchs while Western nations step up sanctions on businesspeople with ties to Putin.