By MICHIEL WILLEMS, cityam.com
A private jet has been impounded by UK authorities at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that Russian airlines and private jets had already been banned from the UK.
“However there were potential loopholes and I also wanted to make the issue a criminal one, so last night I also signed a law which closes off some of those loopholes to do with trying to work out the ownership of some of these aircraft.
“There is one such aircraft on the ground at Farnborough that I have essentially impounded whilst we carry out further investigations, for the last few days.
“It’s very important that we have the laws available to enable that to happen.”
The suggestion was raised that the jet belongs to Evgeny Shvidle, a Russian-American billionaire oil businessman who has reportedly been associated with Russian president Vladimir Putin. On social media it was claimed his Jet LX-FLY plane landed at Farnborough on 4 March.
He made his fortune during the privatization of Russian industry in the 1990s, and maintains a close connection to fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich and his circle.
Eugene Shvidler's Jet LX-FLY Landed in Farnborough, England, GB. Apx. flt. time 5 Hours : 50 Mins. pic.twitter.com/p0zKMa7sO0
— Russian Oligarch Jets (@RUOligarchJets) March 4, 2022
Shapps gave further information about the jet being held at Farnborough.
“We know that it isn’t a Russian company that holds the aircraft, it’s rather a Luxembourg-registered aircraft,” he told LBC Radio.
“We are carrying out further checks before releasing it and what we won’t do is allow any Russian oligarchs to pass on that jet when it does eventually go.”
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