Chelsea owner Abramovich 'terrified of sanctions & is selling London properties', claims Labour MP Chris Bryant

Roman Abramovich FC ChelseaGetty Images

Roman Abramovich is "terrified" of facing sanctions from the British government over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, claims Labour MP Chris Bryant, who suggests that the Chelsea owner is currently selling off his properties around London.

The Blues supremo, a frequently linked ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has come under increasing pressure over the past week following Moscow's attack upon their neighbouring Eastern European nation.

The 55-year-old has already issued a statement indicating the transition of responsibilities at Chelsea to other members of the club, but now opposition MP Bryant has suggested that he is attempting to evade potential sanctions, while criticising the government for their failure to act faster.

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What has been said?

"The government has said that it wants, quite rightly, to sanction DUMA members, and it wants to sanction members of the Russian Federation council, but has not been able to do so yet," Bryant addressed the House of Commons during a session on Tuesday.

"Alisher Usmanov has already been sanctioned by the EU, but not yet by the UK, but I suspect that he will be pretty soon on a UK list, and Everton should certainly be cutting ties with him already.

"Roman Abramovich, well, I think he's terrified of being sanctioned which is why he is already going to sell his home tomorrow and sell another flat as well. My anxiety is that we're taking too long about these things.

"Now, I have a suggestion on what might help. I fear that the government is frightened of letters, lawyers' letters from all these oligarchs' friends. One way to circumvent that is if ministers just read them to the record, in a proceeding in Parliament all the sanction criteria, and then they'd be protected."

What sanctions does Abramovich face?

As one of the most high-profile Russian figures on British shores, Abramovich could face any number of the sweeping - though not all-inclusive - sanctions laid out by the Conservative Govenment under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Asset freezes have already been ordered on a number of individuals, as well as major Russian banks, while potential deposits by those foreign nationals will be capped, as the Ukraine-Russia crisis continues to unfold.

Such sanctions could prove difficult for Abramovich to avoid, but could also spell trouble for Chelsea's own financial situation too.

The bigger picture

While their owner remains mired in the fallout of last month's invasion, Chelsea will look to bounce back from the heartbreak of Sunday's Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool in the FA Cup this week.

The incumbent Champions League and Club World Cup holders face Championship outfit Luton Town for a place in the quarter-finals.

After that, they will return their attention to both the Premier League, with a game against relegation-threatened Burnley at the weekend.

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