Home Business Roman Abramovich moves $1bn superyachts to sea as UK freezes assets 

Roman Abramovich moves $1bn superyachts to sea as UK freezes assets 

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Roman Abramovich’s two superyachts both left port in the past week, when the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club had yet to be hit with sanctions from any Western government.

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That changed on Thursday, with the U.K. imposing a full asset freeze and travel ban on Abramovich and six others as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government dramatically stepped up its sanctions against prominent Russians over the invasion of Ukraine.

The two superyachts, which together span almost 1,000 feet (305 meters) and cost well over $1 billion combined, are now at sea following the recent blocking of vessels owned by Russian tycoons Alisher Usmanov, Igor Sechin, Alexey Mordashov and Gennady Timchenko. All of them were sanctioned by the European Union and had ships docked within the bloc.

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Abramovich’s 533-foot Eclipse left St. Martin in the Caribbean a week ago, beginning a transatlantic passage, and was north of the Canary Islands as of 11:23 a.m. New York time, according to data tracked by Bloomberg. His newer superyacht, the 458-foot Solaris, departed Barcelona on Tuesday after spending most of the winter in the Spanish port and is off the southern coast of Sicily, heading east.

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Neither the Solaris nor the Eclipse list a destination in their data. If the Eclipse crosses the straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, it would be forced to briefly cross U.K. waters. It’s not clear if authorities would try to stop the boat if that occurs.

The Eclipse sports two helipads, two swimming pools, a submarine and an onboard missile-defense system. Completed in 2010, it was the largest superyacht in the world at the time. It’s worth $570 million, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The eight-deck Solaris has 48 cabins and accommodates 36 guests and a crew of 60. It also sports a missile-detection system and bulletproof windows. It was completed last year at an estimated cost of $600 million, according to the website Superyacht Fan.

Abramovich, 55, is Russia’s eighth-richest person with a net worth of $13.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg wealth index.

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