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The sanctioned former owner of Chelsea Football Club Roman Abramovich played a “key role” in the release of five Britons held captive by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, according to a report published by The Sun Daily on Friday.
One of five people released in a prisoner exchange earlier this week, John Harding , said the Russian oligarch introduced himself to fellow prisoner Sean Pinner after they boarded a flight to Riyadh.
According to Harding, he himself spoke to an Abramovich aide who told him about the Russian oligarch's involvement in their release. The released prisoners were flown to the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on Wednesday.
Abramovich, 55, was sanctioned by the UK government on March 10, with Downing Street saying it has evidence linking the Russian oligarch to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Abramovich, who has Israeli citizenship, is also under EU sanctions.
Five Britons — Harding, Pinner, Aiden Aslin, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill — were released as part of the largest prisoner exchange since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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