Israeli-Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich Spotted at Tel Aviv Airport as His Jet Departs for Istanbul

Abramovich, who denies having close ties to Putin, is on the U.K. and EU's sanctions list meant to isolate the Russian president for his invasion of Ukraine

Roman Abramovich.
Roman Abramovich.Credit: John Sibley/ REUTERS

Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was seen in a VIP lounge at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Monday shortly before a jet linked to him took off for Istanbul.

A photograph obtained by Reuters showed Abramovich, owner of Britain's Chelsea soccer club, sitting in the lounge with a face mask pulled down over his chin.

Reuters could not immediately verify whether he boarded the flight.

Roman Abramovich spotted at Tel Aviv Airport.

After taking off from Istanbul, the jet landed in Moscow on Tuesday morning.

Earlier on Monday, a jet suspected to be used by Abramovich left Israel, as international moves to freeze assets of top Russian businessmen following Russia's invasion of Ukraine gathered pace.

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A person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters a plane used by Abramovich flew into Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Sunday.

Flight-tracking website Radarbox said the plane, which has the tail number LX-RAY, took off from Ben Gurion with Istanbul marked as its destination.

Tracking websites showed it arrived from Moscow late on Sunday. Israeli restrictions imposed on private jets since the invasion meant it could not remain on the ground for more than 24 hours.

Abramovich, owner of Britain's Chelsea soccer club, was among seven oligarchs added to the British sanctions list on Thursday in a bid to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

Top European Union diplomats have agreed to add Abramovich to the EU list of Russian billionaires sanctioned since the fighting began, two diplomatic sources said on Monday.

Abramovich has denied having close ties to Putin.

A British transport ministry source said on Friday that Britain was searching out helicopters and jets belonging to the sanctioned oligarchs.

Multiple properties including opulent yachts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been seized by authorities in Europe in recent days. One of Abramovich's own yachts, the $600 million Solaris, arrived in Montenegro's territorial waters on Sunday.

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