World Chess Federation has bank accounts frozen over funding of ISIS

Nick Reilly
Kiran Ilyumzhinov has been accused of financial links to ISIS (REX)

The bank accounts of a leading chess organisation have been frozen after its president was accused of facilitating the funding of Islamic State terrorists.

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has confirmed that swiss bank UBS closed its accounts after the body failed to depose Russian millionaire Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Mr Ilyumzhinov has been on a US wanted list since November 2015 after he was accused of being involved in oil deals that were financially traced back to Islamic State.

He has denied the allegations repeatedly and claims that he is the centre of US efforts to depose him.

In a letter published on FIDE’s website, treasurer Adrian Siegel claimed that UBS closed its bank accounts and said that the federation faced a ‘serious problem’ financially with only a week to go until a world championship qualifier in Berlin.

Professor Siegel singled out Mr Ilyumzhinov and said that the allegations ‘severely damaged Fide’s business activities’.

‘It was only a matter of time before we faced this serious problem. In summary Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s problems severely damaged Fide’s business activities and we have to look for a new banking connection’, he said.

 Mr Ilyumzhinov, was formerly head of the Russian semi-autonomous republic of Kalmykia and part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

He was previously unable to attend the 2016 world chess championship in New York for fear of arrest.

In 2014, he also resisted an attempt to unseat him, which was led by chess champion Garry Kasparov.

David Kramaley, founder of chess learning site , said: ‘This kind of turmoil at the top of chess has got to stop for the good of the game. The game needs stable leadership.’