Ex-Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich files lawsuit against EU Council

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Ex-Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich files lawsuit against EU Council
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Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has filed a lawsuit against the European Union Council.

The former owner of Chelsea FC submitted the legal case to the EU's general court on Tuesday. At the time of writing, neither the court nor the Council had responded to a request for comment.

The EU Council sanctioned Abramovich, who holds Russian, Israeli, and Portuguese citizenship, as part of a constellation of measures targeting Russia and Vladimir Putin's allies.

He was one of several Russian oligarchs hit with travel bans and targeted asset freezes by the EU in March. At the time, the bloc said he had "privileged access to the [Russian] president and has maintained very good relations with him", which Abramovich has vehemently denied.

The oligarch was compelled by the UK government to sell the Premier League club Chelsea after he was sanctioned earlier this year over Putin's "brutal and barbaric invasion".

Chelsea was finally sold for £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) on Monday to a consortium led by Todd Boehly, who part-owns the United States baseball team Los Angeles Dodgers.

The sale of Chelsea, following the most ever paid for a single sports team, marked the end of Abramovich's 19 years at the helm, which saw the club lift five Premier League trophies alongside other European titles.

Portuguese authorities confirmed that the sale of Chelsea by Abramovich did not benefit the billionaire or any of his associates, and the proceeds would be used to support humanitarian activities in Ukraine.

“This [sale] follows close engagement between the European Commission, Portugal and the United Kingdom aimed at ensuring that the sale is fully in line with the EU sanctions legislation," the Commission wrote to AP at the time.

In April, two Russian businessmen linked to Abramovich, Eugene Tenenbaum and David Davidovich, had some £10bn worth of their own concerns frozen by the UK government. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it was the biggest asset freeze in UK history.

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