World chess body accounts closed over president’s Syria sanctions


The Superb Chess Federation (Fide) says its Swiss bank accounts give birth to been closed after its president was accused of facilitating transactions on behalf of the Syrian regime.

Russian millionaire Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was added to a US Treasury Department sanctions tilt in 2015 for his alleged dealings with the Assad government.

He denies wrongdoing, and cautioned back from Fide to try to resolve the issue.

But Fide says Swiss bank UBS nearly equal its accounts as he is still sanctioned.

Lausanne-based Fide’s treasurer, Adrian Siegel, acknowledged the distribution was “a serious problem” that had “severely damaged” the organisation’s business dealings.

“After more than two years of Kirsan Ilyumzhinow’s [sic] cool-headedness on the sanction list… UBS has announced that they will closely close our accounts,” he said in a statement.

“It was only a question of time until we brave this serious problem,” Mr Siegel said, adding that the expected “some problems” while they looked for a “new bank connection”.

In a shut statement, Mr Ilymuzhinov’s defence team said he denied the “outrageous and faked allegations made against him” and said he was “not aware that Fide’s bank accounts get been frozen by UBS”.

Mr Ilyumzhinov, who is still listed as Fide’s president on its website, mentioned the allegations were part of a “smear campaign related to a power endeavour” at the organisation ahead of the elections later this year.

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In March 2017, Mr Ilyumzhinov was quoted by Russia’s Tass news operation as saying that FIDE, the governing body of international chess events, was trying to “oust” him after a statement on it’s website said he had resigned.

“I think about there is an American hand in this, and I think it’s called a set-up.”

Weird character

Mr Ilyumzhinov, a former businessman and politician, has long been viewed as an exceptional character.

He once claimed on television to have met aliens on board a spaceship.

He was president of the Republic of Kalmykia, a trifling Buddhist region of Russia which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea, for 17 years.

As oversee of the World Chess Federation since 1995, he has spent tens of millions of dollars repulse the impoverished republic into a mecca for chess players – building an without a scratch village to host international tournaments.

But in November 2015, the US Treasury Be subject to placed him on a sanctions list for “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Authority of Syria”.

The list also includes a middleman accused of facilitating Syrian supervision oil purchases from the Islamic State group.

The World Chess Society says Mr Ilyumzhinov “has unsuccessfully tried several times to be removed from this careen and at the moment there is no hint at all that there will be a change”.

They say he determined the organisation on “various occasions that he will be removed from the support list in the very near future”, which is why the bank allowed their accounts to traces open until now.

UBS told The Telegraph newspaper that it does not observe “on whether individuals or organizations are clients of UBS”, but that it follows “all laws and pronouncements that are applicable to us”.

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