UK officials impound private jet potentially linked to Russian oligarch
A private jet believed to be linked to Russian billionaire Eugene Shvidler was impounded by U.K. authorities as the country levied new sanctions against Russia in the second week of its invasion of Ukraine.
The private plane, a Bombardier Global 6500 jet, was impounded on the orders of U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Tuesday, and investigators are looking into a possible connection to Shvidler.
A U.K. government source told The Guardian that Shvidler was “free to continue his journey by other means” after the plane was taken into custody.
New aviation sanctions imposed by the U.K. give authorities the power to detain any Russian aircraft and make it a criminal offense for planes linked to Russia to fly or land in the country, Reuters reported.
The plane will only be allowed to leave Farnborough Airport if investigators find no links with Russia.
The plane arrived in Farnborough from New Jersey on March 4 and was due to fly to Dubai on Tuesday, the report added.
Snapps, who didn’t reference the impoundment of the jet, said in a statement on Twitter that “I have made it a criminal offense for ANY Russian aircraft to enter UK airspace and now HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] can detain these jets.”
He added, “We will suffocate Putin’s cronies’ ability to continue living as normal while thousands of innocent people die.”
BREAKING: I have made it a criminal offence for ANY Russian aircraft to enter UK airspace and now HMG can detain these jets. We will suffocate Putin’s cronies’ ability to continue living as normal while thousands of innocent people die. pic.twitter.com/cYjreNSYRz
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) March 8, 2022
“We are shutting down the EU airspace for Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, announced last week.