Police in the Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, have been ordered to apologize to Roman Abramovich after admitting they conducted unlawful searches at properties linked to the Russian billionaire.
The former Chelsea FC owner was sanctioned in connection with Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, during which a court ordered £6bn of his assets to be frozen.
Then in April, warrants were granted to search properties linked to Abramovich, during which documents and devices were seized by Jersey’s Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit (ECCU), the Daily Mail reports.
Following the searches, Abramovich challenged their legality, ultimately leading to Jersey police acknowledging on Friday that “the search warrants were obtained unlawfully,” and “that the search warrants should be quashed.”
“It was said that the force failed to reach the sufficient level of evidence to warrant a search of any premises.
The police also agreed to pay damages and costs, confirmed that all copies of documents seized in the searches had been destroyed and that the police would apologise to Abramovich, according to legal documents,” the Daily Mail reported.
“Mr Abramovich has always acted in accordance with the law, we are pleased that the Jersey Police have conceded in relation to these unlawful and unfounded searches,” said Abramovich’s spokesman.
Abramovich earned his billions during the break-up of the Soviet Union through oil company Sibneft, along with Rusal aluminum and the airline Aeroflot. After owning Chelsea FC for nearly two decades, he sold to an American-led group in May of this year for a reported £4.25bn.
He also governed the remote Arctic region of Chukotka in Russia’s Far East, and has been involved in attempts to negotiate a settlement to the Ukraine war to no avail.
Abramovich’s frozen assets are a combination of company shares and cash held in bank accounts, and do not include physical assets such as real estate, or those held in Crown Dependencies, such as Jersey and Guernsey, according to the Mail.
So far over 1,200 individuals have been sanctioned by the UK, including high-profile businessmen and politicians, as well as over 120 entities in Russia.