US hits more oligarchs, Putin allies including press secretary Dmitry Peskov and Putin’s chef Yevgeny Prigozhin with sanctions

“These oligarchs are known to direct, authorize, fund, significantly support, or carry out malign activities in support of Russia’s destabilizing foreign policy,” the White House said.

One of Russia’s wealthiest individuals and a close Putin ally, Alisher Usmanov, worth an estimated $US19.5 billion ($26.6 billion), is also targeted.

All his property has been blocked from use in the US. His assets include a super-yacht, one of the world’s largest, which was reportedly seized by Germany, and a private jet, one of Russia’s largest privately owned aircraft.

Britain added two more oligarchs – Mr Usmanov and Mr Shuvalov – to its list, bringing the total number to 13, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

Mr Usmanov has interests in Premier League soccer clubs Arsenal and Everton, and owns a north London mansion worth an estimated £48 million ($87 million).

He was described as “a core part of Putin’s inner circle”, and worked on Russia’s 2018 World Cup bid.

Ms Truss said the British assets of Mr Usmanov and Mr Shuvalov, including their houses, were frozen, they were banned from Britain, and nobody can do business with them.

She said the government would launch an Oligarch Task Force next week as it tries to build a case against more wealthy Russians with British interests.

On Thursday, Britain also deployed London’s status as the world’s insurance capital to freeze the Russian space and aviation sectors to any UK-based insurance or reinsurance services, either directly or indirectly.

Meanwhile, France seized and impounded an oligarch’s luxury super-yacht from its berth near Marseille as it tried to leave port.

The $US120 million vessel is owned by a company linked to Igor Sechin, a Putin confidant and CEO of energy behemoth Rosneft.

Russian elites that have not been targeted by the US or other Western countries have taken notice of the sanctions.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich announced this week he would sell the Premier League club that became a trophy-winning machine thanks to his lavish investment.

Mr Abramovich made his fortune in oil and aluminum during the chaotic years that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

According to Bloomberg, up to five oligarch-owned super-yachts have been tracked either entering or heading for the Maldives, out of reach of sanctions.

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