Putin-linked billionaire is frantically selling off his assets — including major UK soccer club
Annual Direct Line with Vladimir Putin in Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual "Direct Line with Vladimir Putin" live call-in show. - -/Kremlin/dpa

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a British billionaire accused of ties to Vladimir Putin is quickly trying to sell off major assets as the United Kingdom levies aggressive sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.

"One of Britain’s richest men, Russian-born Roman Abramovich, widely believed to be a member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, is said to be conducting a fire sale of his British assets, including a $260 million London property empire and his multibillion-dollar stake in the Chelsea football club, fearing his assets will be frozen by British lawmakers," reported Tom Sykes. "Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss said Wednesday that he was offered the iconic London football club, telling Swiss newspaper Blick: 'Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England, he also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly. I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich. I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much.'"

The move raises fears that Britain's sanctions have given associates of Putin too much advance warning to move around their assets and avoid being affected by the worst of the sanctions.

In a recent debate in Parliament, British lawmaker Chris Bryant laid out the situation: "I think [Abramovich] is terrified of being sanctioned, which is why he’s already going to sell his home tomorrow, and sell another flat as well. My anxiety is that we’re taking too long about these things."

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Abramovich, in addition to being an ally of Putin, is linked to former President Donald Trump's family, with his wife even being invited by Ivanka Trump to attend his 2017 inauguration.

NATO countries have levied an unprecedented economic embargo against Russia, which has claimed the Ukraine invasion is simply to protect the security of two so-called "independent republics" declared by separatist rebels with the Kremlin's backing. The sanctions have decimated the value of the ruble, causing bank runs and chaos in the country, and .