Russian oligarch Abramovich spotted in Israeli airport

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Jerusalem (Reuters) – Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was seen in 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 airport’s VIP lounge with a face mask pulled down over his chin. Reuters could not verify independently that he actually boarded the flight.

Abramovich, who also holds Israeli and Portuguese citizenship, was among seven Russian billionaires added to the British sanctions list on Thursday as part of efforts to isolate President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Top envoys for the 27-nation European Union diplomats agreed to add Abramovich to the bloc’s list of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, diplomatic sources said on Monday. L2N2VH0JI

Abramovich has denied having close ties to Putin.

A person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters the plane used by Abramovich flew into Ben Gurion late on Sunday from Moscow. Flight-tracking website Radarbox said the aircraft, which has the tail number LX-RAY, took off on Monday for Istanbul.