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Roman Abramovich's superyacht Solaris spotted off the coast of Turkey

The EU blacklisted the Chelsea football club owner last week amid a crackdown on Russian oligarchs close to Putin
Superyacht Solaris, owned by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, sails towards the luxury yacht marina Porto Montenegro, on the Adriatic coast, on 12 March 2022 (AFP)

A superyacht, belonging to the sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, was cruising a few kilometres off the coast of southwest Turkey on Monday, according to ship tracking data, provided by the monitoring site MarineTraffic.

The Chelsea football club owner is among a number of Russian oligarchs linked to President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle who last week were added to an EU blacklist, and whose yachts and other luxury assets were seized by EU governments. 

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Abramovich, along with six other oligarchs, was also hit with an assets freeze and travel ban by the UK earlier this month, as world governments seek to isolate the Russian president and his allies over the  24 February invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, Abramovich flew on his private jet to Moscow from Istanbul. According to flight tracking data it was the second trip by a jet linked to Abramovich between the Turkish city and the Russian capital in three days. 

The 140-metre yacht Solaris, one of a string of yachts owned by Abramovich, sails under a Bermuda flag. It left a Barcelona shipyard where it had been undergoing repairs on 8 March.

It departed Montenegro's Adriatic resort town of Tivat on 13 March with an initially listed destination of Turkey, and rounded the Greek island of Crete in recent days. MarineTraffic showed it was some 3km off Turkey's coast on Monday, heading in the direction of the resort of Datca.

On 10 March, Abramovich was spotted dining in a private room at a luxury restaurant in Tel Aviv, according to Israel's Ynet.

Israel has previously said it is unable to stop Abramovich, who holds Israeli, as well as Russian and Portuguese citizenship, from entering the country.

The football club owner has denied any association to Putin, but a British government document announcing the sanctions earlier this month said Abramovich has had a "close relationship for decades" with Putin.

"This association has included obtaining a financial benefit or other material benefit from Putin and the government of Russia," it said.

Abramovich has said that he would sell Chelsea after almost 20 years of ownership, adding that the net proceeds from the sale would be donated to "all victims of the war in Ukraine".

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