MOSCOW Aug 3 A businessman and associate of
Vladimir Putin said he cannot use his luxury jet because of U.S.
sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine, a Russian news agency
Gennady Timchenko, a major shareholder in Russia's No.2 gas
producer Novatek, told Itar-Tass that Gulfstream
Aerospace Corp. had withdrawn technical support for his jet.
His comments indicated that the G650 jet, which Itar-Tass
said was worth $64.5 million, had been grounded in Moscow.
"Sanctions are coming out in the quaintest of ways,"
Timchenko said in the interview with Itar-Tass. "The company
Gulfstream has stopped fulfilling its contract obligations by
suspending my jet flights."
Timchenko was included on a U.S. list of individuals
subject to asset freezes and visa bans after Russia's annexation
of Crimea in March.
"Gulfstream is prohibited from having any contacts with me.
They cannot discuss either future supplies of already ordered
jets or the operation of this one," the businessman said.
Gulfstream, which is owned by General Dynamics and
based in Savannah, in the U.S. state of Georgia, did not
immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment on Sunday.
Itar-Tass quoted Gulfstream as saying it was not aware of
any problems with its technical support service for jets in
Timchenko is one of Russia's richest businessman and has
been quoted as saying he has known Putin since at least 1990 but
denies that the president has helped him in his career.
Timchenko sold his 43 percent stake in global commodities
trader Gunvor Group to chief executive Torbjorn Tornqvist on
March 19, just before he was hit by sanctions.
The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions
on Russia because they accuse Moscow of arming pro-Russian
separatists who have risen up in eastern Ukraine. They want
Putin to do more to end the conflict. Russia denies the
accusations and says the West is trying to reduce its global
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Timothy Heritage and