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Russian Oligarch Abramovich Has Colorado Ties

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BRUSSELS — The European Union imposed sanctions Tuesday on Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich as part of a new package of measures targeting Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s close allies.

The EU included the Russian oligarch in its updated list of individuals facing assets freeze and travel bans over their role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The 55-year-old Abramovich had been punished in Britain by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government last week. The aluminum magnate was among seven wealthy Russians who had their assets frozen under British sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich has also been suspended as director of the Premier League club.

The EU said Abramovich “has had privileged access to the (Russian) president, and has maintained very good relations with him. This connection with the Russian leader helped him to maintain his considerable wealth.”

The European Council added 15 individuals and nine entities to its list of people and bodies sanctioned.

According to the 27-nation bloc, Abramovich’s connection with Putin helped him maintain his fortune, while the oligarch’s economic activities provided substantial revenues to the Russian government.

“He is a major shareholder of the steel group Evraz, which is one of Russia’s largest taxpayers,” the European Council said. “He has therefore been benefitting from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilization of Ukraine.”

Evraz has owned the Rocky Mountain Steel mill in Pueblo since 2007. The London-based company is spending $500 million to build a new rail mill that includes electric arc furnace that will turn scrap metal into new quarter-mile rails. Construction began in July on the project and will be completed late this year or early next year. The mill, which will employ about 300, will be powered by a recently completed nearby 1,800-acre solar farm.

Abramovich and two other Russian shareholders, who together own 48% of Evraz, resigned last week from the company’s board after the British government imposed sanctions on Abramovich, including freezing his assets and seizing his private jet. The company canceled a dividend last week that would have paid him $215 million after paying him $450 million in dividends last year. The company’s stock price fell 90% before trading was suspended last week.

Abramovich also owns two mansions in Snowmass.

In addition to his Russian passport, Abramovich also holds Portuguese citizenship, so it was unclear how a travel ban within the EU would affect his capacity to move freely in the region.

The EU sanctions against Abramovich were announced a day after a BBC investigation revealed new evidence about alleged corrupt deals that made the Russian businessman’s fortune.

According to the BBC, Abramovich made billions after buying an oil company from the Russian government in a rigged auction in 1995. The broadcaster said he paid around $250 million for Sibneft, before selling it back to the Russian government for $13 billion in 2005.

Abramovich’s lawyers said there is no basis for alleging he has amassed very substantial wealth through criminality.

Following a meeting of EU heads of state and government last week, the bloc decided to impose a fourth package of measures in retaliation for Russia’s invasion

The European Council said it decided to sanction “key oligarchs, lobbyists and propagandists pushing the Kremlin’s narrative on the situation in Ukraine.”

The sanctions on Abramovich are also affecting his soccer club. Under the British government action, Chelsea will operate through the end of this season with a special “Russia Regulations” license that among other restrictions prohibits the team from selling new tickets or merchandise, or signing new players.

The club’s future was already in doubt before Abramovich, whose $2 billion investment in Chelsea over 19 years transformed the team into a force in European soccer, was sanctioned. He had put the club up for sale amid growing calls that sanctions be imposed on a person the government has labeled a “pro-kremlin oligarch” linked to “destabilizing … undermining and threatening” Ukraine.

Gazette business reporter Wayne Heilman contributed to this report.


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Original Source: gazette.com

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Fire Under Control Near Fountain Creek Park

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Update 11:12 a.m.

Firefighters put out a wildland fire early Thursday in the Fountain area, officials said.

The blaze was reported about 3:45 a.m. on the east side of Fountain Creek and south of Duckwood Park, Fountain police said in news release. Crews from fire departments in Security, Stratmoor Hills, Fort Carson and Hanover responded to heavy smoke and flames.

The fire was about a mile west of Colorado 85.

“The mild weather conditions this morning made it easier for fire crews to get this fire under control quickly,” police said.

The fire burned less than an acre before it was fully contained, officials said. As of Thursday morning, officials said the area is being monitored and might take several hours before the scene is cleared.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but officials said a lightning strike Wednesday afternoon might have ignited it.

Update 11 a.m.: The fire is 100% contained and burned less than one acre. No structures were threatened and no reported injuries.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, however, officials think it possibly started from a lightning strike due to later afternoon storms on Wednesday.

Fountain fire department battled a wildland fire near Fountain Creek Regional Park Thursday morning, Fountain police said.

The fire ignited around 3:30 a.m. between Hwy 85 and Comanche Village Drive and crews managed to get the fire under control, police said.

Containment was 50% as of 7 a.m. but police did not give any estimates of the fire’s size.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, police said.


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Original Post: gazette.com

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911 Lines Down in Fremont and Custer Counties, Officials Say

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Fremont and Custer counties have been without 911 services since Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

According to the Fremont County Emergency Management, the lines have been down since 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. The public is asked to not call 911 “to test or check your phone.”

Calls will be be routed to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, officials said. From there, they will be transferred back to Fremont County dispatchers.

This is a developing story. Check with gazette.com for updates.


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Original Source: gazette.com

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Alaska Rep. Don Young to Lie in State at US Capitol

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Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving Republican in U.S. House history, will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol on March 29.Read More

Original Article: seattletimes.com

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