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Everton-linked Russian billionaire Usmanov sanctioned over Ukraine invasion

Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov were being sanctioned after the move was signed off by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the PA news agency understands.

RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE ALISHER Usmanov, who has ties to Everton, is being hit with sanctions in the UK under measures to pressure Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

The Foreign Office was also preparing to announce sanctions against former Russian deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov on Thursday evening after the move was signed off by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the PA news agency understands.

Roman Abramovich, who says he will sell Chelsea, is not expected to be on the latest tranche of sanctioned oligarchs after it was conceded it could take “weeks and months” to build legally sound cases.

But Ms Truss will establish an Oligarch Taskforce of ministers and officials from departments including the Home Office, the Treasury and the National Crime Agency to co-ordinate sanctions and build cases against targets.

The move came after a Government source acknowledged to the PA news agency that it could take “weeks and month” to build a legally watertight case against some Russian oligarchs.

“We’re working round-the-clock and going as quick as we can,” the source added, with Ms Truss understood to have tripled the size of the sanctions team in recent months.

Mr Usmanov, whose commercial ties with Everton have been suspended, has already had his assets frozen as part of measures taken by the European Union.

On Wednesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer questioned why Mr Shuvalov, who served under Mr Putin as his deputy prime minister, had not been sanctioned.

Mr Shuvalov owns property in Westminster and is the chair of the management board of VEB, one of the sanctioned Russian banks.

Ms Truss said: “Our message to Putin and his allies has been clear from day one – invading Ukraine would have serious and crippling economic consequences.

“Sanctioning Usmanov and Shuvalov sends a clear message that we will hit oligarchs and individuals closely associated with the Putin regime and his barbarous war. We won’t stop here. Our aim is to cripple the Russian economy and starve Putin’s war machine.”

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