Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was on a plane repatriating five Britons captured in Ukraine under the sanction of the Russian oligarchs and the European Union, one of whom testified to “The Sun” newspaper that he was said to have played a ‘key role’ in their release. On Friday.
John Harding, one of five Britons freed by Moscow in a prisoner swap with Kiev, says the Russian billionaire and former owner of London football club Chelsea introduced himself to one of the ex-prisoners, Shaun Pinner, on the plane that took them. From Russia to Saudi Arabia.
Shawn later “said to him, ‘You look like Roman Abramovich’ and he replied, ‘That’s me,'” says Mr Harding.
He exchanged his role with the oligarch’s henchman, who assured him that he had played a “key role” in freeing the five prisoners.
Roman Abramovich has been under British government sanction since March 10, when Downing Street said it had evidence of his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered his army to invade Ukraine on February 24.
He is also on the list of persons recognized by the European Union.
According to John Harding, Shaun later “had a long talk with him (Abramovich) about football” during the trip.
Five Britons – John Harding, Shaun Later, Aidan Aslin, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill – were released as part of a Saudi-mediated exchange of 10 prisoners of war.
The first two were sentenced to death, along with Moroccan Brahim Sadoun, who was involved in a prisoner exchange – a controversial charge – of mercenaries by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Last month, now jailed Kremlin dissident Alexei Navalny called for the formal punishment of all oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin or supporting the war in Ukraine.
He particularly lamented that Roman Abramovich continues to evade US sanctions to this day, while some of his companies “continue to supply metal to the Russian Ministry of Defense”.