Breaking News: Roman Abramovich victimised because of Chelsea say his lawyers and here is why

Breaking News: Roman Abramovich ‘victimised because of Chelsea’ say his lawyers and here is why

According to his lawyer in a recent court proceeding, it is claimed that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was unfairly targeted and victimized. In an attempt to have his EU sanctions lifted, Abramovich’s legal team will argue that he should be distanced from Vladimir Putin. They will assert to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg that Abramovich, who was estimated to be worth $14.5 billion in 2021, did not receive any benefits from Russian decision-makers.

The court hearing on Wednesday coincides with another dispute between the EU and the UK regarding how the frozen proceeds from the £2.5 billion sale of Chelsea should be allocated. The UK is aligning with the EU in refusing to allow an independent foundation, supported by Abramovich, Oxfam, and Save The Children, to use the funds for the victims of the Ukraine war.

Chelsea was put up for sale in March of the previous year when the EU included Abramovich on its list of individuals subject to frozen assets and travel bans due to their alleged involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In May, Abramovich filed a lawsuit against the European Union Council at the EU’s general court. When sanctioning Abramovich, the EU claimed that he had privileged access to the Russian president and maintained a strong relationship with him, which helped him amass significant wealth.

However, legal sources state that Abramovich’s lawyers, Thierry Bonntick, Carsten Zatschler, and Stephane Bonfassi, will argue before the panel of judges in Luxembourg that Abramovich’s fame is mainly attributed to his ownership of Chelsea Football Club for two decades, rather than his Russian origins. They will contend that his reputation was inflated due to his association with the Premier League, as he famously refrained from engaging with the press, leading to the creation of a myth surrounding him.

The lawyers will argue that fame has both positive and negative consequences and question whether the most famous Russian individual stood a chance against the imposed sanctions when the war started. They will claim that Abramovich was not sanctioned based on evidence but rather due to political reasons, as the most prominent Russian businessman had to be targeted, even if it was a clear mistake.

Ahead of the hearing, a spokesperson for Abramovich expressed confidence in a fair and objective review of the case by the European Union Court of Justice.

Abramovich’s legal team will argue that the council’s decision to sanction him relied on vague articles from blogs and press with no substantial evidence and was based on historic events that lack contemporary relevance.

They will also deem it absurd that one alleged justification for the sanctions was Abramovich’s supposed mediation in the ongoing conflict at the request of Ukraine.

Abramovich’s lawyers will emphasize that he did not receive any benefits from Russian decision-makers and will highlight the European Council’s failure to provide any evidence to the contrary.

This case follows billionaire Eugene Shvidler, an associate of Abramovich, challenging the UK’s Russian sanctions regime in a London court, with his legal team claiming significant errors in the assessment of his relationship with Abramovich.

The UK, having sanctioned more individuals than the EU or the US, is exploring ways to expand its sanctions tools, potentially including asset seizures.

As part of their argument, Abramovich’s legal team will present a letter from Ukrainian MP David Arahamia, a leader of the Servant of the People faction, which reportedly states that with Abramovich’s assistance, agreements were reached on the organization of humanitarian corridors that saved over 400,000 people.

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