Roman Abramovich is among a group of Russian oligarchs with ties to Vladimir Putin being targeted by British intelligence, it’s been reported.
The Chelsea owner is one of six wealthy Russians in Putin’s ‘inner circle’ who authorities want to disrupt and frustrate in retaliation for the Skripal nerve agent attack in March.
Intelligence agencies are reportedly looking to block the oligarchs’ ability to travel and run their empires by revoking visas, imposing travel restrictions and inspect their financial and property assets.
Roman Abramovich is being targeted by British intelligence in a bid to frustrate Putin and his inner circle, it’s claimed
The Chelsea owner (pictured beside Putin) is one of six Russian Oligarchs on a watch list
The plan is believed to have been drawn up and submitted to Theresa May. The next step will be to convince Britain’s European and North American allies to get on board as tensions between the Kremlin and the West ramp up.
A senior Whitehall security source told The Telegraph: ‘The aim of the measures we intend to take is to limit their manoeuvrability and their ability to travel and operate freely in Britain, Europe and elsewhere.
‘We believe they are involved in doing the Kremlin’s bidding on a whole range of fronts, which includes using their financial muscle on behalf of the Russian state.’
Putin’s former judo partner Arkady Rotenberg (left), his younger brother Boris and Boris’ wife Karina (right) are all being targeted as part of the crackdown on Putin’s inner circle
‘Roman Abramovich is on the list because he is believed to be Mr Putin’s most important financial supporter.’
Mr Abramovich’s spokesman refused to comment.
The source added that targeting the businessmen was a direct retaliation for the Sailsbury attack. There is no suggestion any of the men were involved in the nerve agent attack.
In March, Britain refused to let Abramovich back into the country following a trip to his homeland until he renewed his visa.
It appeared to be a move on behalf of the UK of frustrating the Chelsea owner amid tensions with the Kremlin.
Oleg Deripaska is another man intelligence agencies plan to disrupt in retaliation to the Salisbury nerve agent attack
Others on the list include Oleg Deripaska – who has ties to British politicians and hit the headlines in 2017 when he was found to have ties with Paul Manfort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.
Mr Deripaska was put on the list due to his alleged links with Russia’s security forces.
A Whitehall official told The Telegraph he was a priority because he provides the Kremlin with finances.
Former Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov is another name on the watch list.
British intelligence agencies will be keeping a close eye on former Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov’s assets (pictured with Putin)
The billionaire, who was involved with the rise of gas giant Gazprom, has been accused of corruption – which he strongly denies – and is considered a close friend of Putin.
Also on the list is Putin’s former judo partner Arkady Rotenberg, his younger brother Boris and Boris’ wife Karina.
Arkady owns a mansion in Surrey and a home in London. The tycoon and his younger brother have been repeatedly sanctioned by the EU over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The sixth member of the list is energy baron Igor Sechin, who was once Putin’s secretary and is known as ‘Darth Vader’ in Russian media
Karina has ties with British politicians and even attended the Tory ball over summer.
The sixth member of the list is energy baron Igor Sechin, who was once Putin’s secretary.
The former Soviet spy is known as ‘Darth Vader’ in Russian media because he’s considered one of the most powerful men in the country.
Putin’s ‘inner circle’: The six Russian oligarchs UK intelligence plan to disrupt and frustrate
Abramovich is said to have helped Putin become president
The 52-year-old rose to prominence in the West when he purchased Chelsea Football Club for £140million in 2003.
He transformed the English game with lavish transfers and turned Chelsea into a force in world football.
The tycoon, worth an estimated £9.3bn, made his wealth trading in oil and gas and is said to have helped Putin win the Russian presidency with his political power and influence.
This year, when his visa expired, the UK Government took their time renewing it, leaving the billionaire stuck in his home country.
It’s unclear when he last visited the UK but he is thought to own three homes in London.
Oleg Deripaska, 50, is said to be a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is worth £5billion.
Born in 1968 in the city of Dzerzhinsk, some 250 miles east of Moscow, Deripaska attended the School of Physics at Moscow State University before graduating from Moscow’s School of Economics at Plekhanov Academy of Economics.
He went on to establish himself in the domestic metals industry and in 2008, Forbes magazine listed Deripaska as the ninth-richest man in the world, worth about $28 billion.
Controversial: Russian oligarch and billionaire Oleg Deripaska has many powerful friends in politics
But when the financial crisis hit he almost went bankrupt before bouncing back – with the help of the Kremlin, according to some reports.
He first made headlines in 2008 over a controversial meeting in Corfu with George Osborne on his superyacht.
Last year he was found to have ties with Paul Manfort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.
He was sanctioned by the US Treasury which accused him of ‘acting on behalf of a senior figure in the Russian government’.
Usmanov was monitored for alleged links to suspected mafia figures
Alisher Usmanov is one of Russia’s richest men with a fortune worth about £3billion and is a close friend of President Vladimir Putin.
Known as one of Russia’s shrewdest investors, he was involved with the rise of gas giant Gazprom.
Raised in Uzbekistan with contacts to the ruling elite in what was then a Soviet province, he unjustly fell foul of the law as a young man and was imprisoned for an offence that was later rescinded from his police record. He claimed it was political persecution.
Usmanov, 53, who has shown no interest in football yet was a majority shareholder in Arsenal, is married to Irina Viner, a top rhythmic gymnastics coach. He is president of the European Federation of Fencing and fenced for the USSR.
Reports years ago claimed Britain’s National Criminal Intelligence Service was monitoring him for alleged links — never proven — to suspected mafia figures.