- 1518614240 kirsan ilyumzhinov - World chess governing body’s bank accounts frozen over alleged Isis links

World chess governing body’s bank accounts frozen over alleged Isis links


The World Chess Federation (Fide) says it has had its Swiss bank accounts closed over accusations its president facilitated the funding of Isis

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a Russian multi-millionaire and politician, was added to a US Treasury Department sanctions list in 2015 for allegedly “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria“.

The list also featured a businessman accused of serving as a middleman for the Syrian government to purchase oil from Isis. 

Mr Ilyumzhinov has repeatedly denied the allegations and withdrew from Fide while he sought to clear his name. 

However, a letter from Fide’s treasurer said: “Since then Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has unsuccessfully tried several times to be removed from this list and at the moment there is no hint at all that there will be a change.”

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In the letter, Adrian Siegal said Fide was facing a “serious problem” and Swiss bank UBS had closed its bank accounts due to Mr Ilyumzhinov being on the sanctions list. 

“After more than two years of Kirsan Ilyumzhinow’s [sic] presence on the sanction list of the US Department of the Treasury the Swiss bank UBS has announced that they will immediately close our accounts,” the letter said.

It added: “In summary, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s problems severely damage Fide’s business activities and we have to look for a new bank connection. In the process of this change we anticipate some problems.”

Mr Ilyumzhinov is yet to comment on the letter, but is still listed as the federation’s president on its website. 

He has been president of the governing body since 1995 and was President of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia from 1993 to 2010.

He is regarded as eccentric and has drawn worldwide attention in the past for claiming he was visited by aliens.

Independent

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