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BIS charging letter for Abramovich plane EAR violations

June 6, 2022
Office of Congressional and Public Affairs


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) Director John Sonderman issued an Administrative Charging Letter against Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, alleging violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) involving flights of two U.S. origin aircraft to Russia without the required export licenses from BIS. These aircraft include a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (TailNumber P4- BDL, Manufacturer Serial Number 37306), valued at approximately $350 million, and a Gulfstream G650ER (Tail Number LX-RAY, Manufacturer Serial Number 6417), valued at approximately $60 million.

“The Commerce Department has put in place unprecedented export controls in response to Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod. “Today’s action, and our recent changes to make such actions public when brought, provides notice to the world of our commitment to enforce those controls aggressively in a transparent way, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.”

“Russian oligarchs such as Abramovich will not be permitted to violate U.S. export regulations without consequence,” said OEE Director John Sonderman. “Those that violate the expansive export controls imposed on Russia will ultimately find themselves the target of investigations by OEE Special Agents and our law enforcement partners. Today, we are bringing a whole of government effort directed against Abramovich and his aircraft with two coordinated enforcement actions – OEE’s Charging Letter and the U.S. Department of Justice seizure warrants.”

As a result of the stringent export controls imposed by BIS in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a BIS license or license exception is now required for the export or reexport, including the temporary export or reexport, of most commercial and private aircraft to Russia. Furthermore, any aircraft subject to the EAR that is registered in, owned or controlled by, or under charter or lease by Russia or a national of Russia, is prohibited from using an EAR license exception for flights to Russia, regardless of whether that Russian national also has dual nationality.

As alleged in the Charging Letter, Roman Abramovich is a Russian national, who effectively owned, controlled, chartered and/or leased these U.S.-origin aircraft, which were subject to a license requirement, and were also ineligible for any license exception. The Charging Letter sets forth three violations by Abramovich for flights to Russia involving these aircraft without the requisite BIS licenses. Specifically, the charges include two violations involving the Gulfstream aircraft and one violation involving the Boeing aircraft. Under the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (50 U.S.C. §§ 4801-4852), among possible administrative sanctions, administrative monetary penalties can reach up to $328,121 per violation or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater. Violators may also be subject to the denial of their. export privileges. A denial of export privileges prohibits a person from participating in any way in any transaction subject to the EAR. Furthermore, it is unlawful for other businesses and individuals to participate in any way in an export transaction subject to the EAR with a denied person. The full charging letter is available online here.
Today’s announcement is the first of its kind under new regulations issued on June 2, 2022, allowing BIS to make Charging Letters public when filed. In publicly announcing this Charging Letter, BIS is ensuring that the exporting community and public writ large know who is allegedly violating our regulations. It also incentivizes those who may be in violation to cease and voluntarily self-disclose such violations.
Today’s coordinated enforcement actions against Abramovich are the result of a joint investigation by OEE’s New York Field Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) New York Field Office. In addition to the Charging Letter against Abramovich, BIS is working closely with the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the FBI, who jointly announced today the issuance of seizure warrants for both the Boeing 787 and the Gulfstream G650ER involved in the alleged export violations at issue. Additional information on those actions is available here.
BIS previously publicly identified both aircraft as being in likely violation of U.S. export controls. This public identification occurred as part of an effort to prevent, absent U.S. Government authorization, the continued use by Russia or Russian nationals of any aircraft subject to the EAR that were flown to Russia without the requisite license. BIS continually updates the public list of aircraft that have flown to Russia in apparent violation of the EAR.

Additional BIS resources on export controls implemented in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are available at:
The public may submit confidential enforcement tips via the BIS website:, or by calling the Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-424-2980.

These BIS actions were taken under the authority of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 and its implementing regulations, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

For more information, visit

A Charging Letter is merely the means by which administrative enforcement proceedings are initiated pursuant to the EAR, and the respondent is entitled to contest the violations and allegations therein, as part of the adjudicative procedures set forth in Part 766 of the Regulations. AdministrativeenforcementproceedingsundertheEARcurrentlyareadjudicated by administrative law judges employed by the U.S. Coast Guard.


BIS Notice

Categories: Administrative Charging Letter Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Updates Enforcement Actions Export Control Indictments and Arrests Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions


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