Russian oligarchs continue to lose their assets thanks to crippling sanctions by western nations as retaliation to Ukraine’s invasion. Sanctioned Russian billionaire Eugene Shvidler has become the latest to be affected by these stringent measures. The two jets belonging to the oil tycoon have been seized indefinitely by the UK government on Saturday. The two private aircraft were under investigation at Farnborough and Biggin Hill airports for the last three weeks, but the country’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said he had signed new laws to impound the jets. The laws also made it a criminal offense for sanctioned plane owners to move or fly their aircraft in the UK.
“Since Putin began his illegal assault, I’ve held jets belonging to Eugene Shvidler under investigation for three weeks. Now, I am using my powers to detain them indefinitely,” tweeted Grant Shapps. “Putin’s friends who made millions out of his regime will not enjoy luxuries whilst innocent people die.” Shvidler was sanctioned as a part of a recently released list of 65 Russian oligarchs who are believed to have close ties with Vladimir Putin. The 58-year-old billionaire was described as a “longstanding business partner” of Roman Abramovich by the UK authorities which prompted the actions against him. The confiscated aircraft owned by Shvidler are a Bombardier Global 6500 and a Cessna Citation Latitude, which are believed to be worth up to $60 million.
Bombardier Global 6500
The Global 6500 is a very new aircraft that joined Bombardier’s long-established Global family of business jets in 2019. It is considered as one of the closest rivals to the Gulfstream G650 with closely matched specifications. The business jet was launched with a re-designed wing and a pair of new Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 engines, giving it a top speed of Mach 0.9 and a range of 6,600 nautical miles. The cabin is big enough to accommodate up to 17 passengers and can be configured to feature a range of suites, including crew, club, conference, private, and en-suite. The cabin also comes equipped with a Nuage seat that features a tilt link system for a deep recline, a floating base for fluid movement, and a tilting headrest for improved comfort.
Cessna Citation Latitude
The Citation Latitude is a smaller business jet with a more compact cabin and a comparatively shorter range. The aircraft received its certification in 2015 and quickly became the best-selling mid-sized business jet. Powered by two P&WC PW306D turbofans, the Cessna jet has a top speed of 513 mph and a range of 2700 nautical miles with 4 passengers, which is enough to fly nonstop from Los Angeles to New York or Geneva to Dubai. The interior can accommodate up to 9 passengers and features a flat floor with a 6-foot stand-up cabin.
Who is Eugene Shvidler?
Shvidler is a Soviet-born billionaire who made his fortune during the privatization of Russian industry. His net worth is estimated at $1.9 billion. The 58-year-old oil tycoon became an American citizen in 1994 and even worked for Deloitte & Touche in New York. Later, he returned to Russia and teamed up with Roman Abramovich to take control over oil giant, Sibneft, via an auction.
In fact, he is considered to be Abramovich’s closest friend. Back in 2006, the Chelsea club owner famously lost a $175 million superyacht named Le Grand Bleu to Shvidler over a game of poker. While Abramovich was able to save his currently-owned yachts and jets from being seized because of the anti-Russia, Shvidler was slow to react and his two jets are now in possession of the UK government.