Boris Johnson has been forced to issue a correction after he stated that Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich had been hit by sanctions over Moscow’s moves to invade Ukraine.
Labour MP Margaret Hodge read out a list of names she said should be included in the reprisals, including Abramovich, one of Russia’s richest people and the owner of Chelsea football club.
Johnson hit back that Hodge was “in error” and that “Abramovich is already facing sanctions”.
The claim was challenged by Labour MP Chris Bryant, who said he did not think Abramovich “has been sanctioned yet at all”.
And in a written ministerial statement issued today, Johnson admitted: “Roman Abramovich has not been the subject of targeted measures.”
Johnson yesterday unveiled a package of sanctions against five Russian banks and three oligarchs with close links to Putin in response to Moscow’s decision to declare independence over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
The three individuals singled out were Boris and Igor Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko.
Abramovich was not named yesterday, but in 2018 he had trouble renewing his investor visa in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisonings which put relations with Moscow on ice.
After a few years away from London, Abramovich finally returned in 2021 after he obtained an Israeli passport, meaning he was able to enter the UK without the need for a visa.
Johnson said that anyone who comes to the UK on an Israeli passport is a non-visa national, but Israelis are required to obtain a visa if they want to live, work or study in the UK.