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World Chess Federation suspends long-time president Ilyumzhinov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The World Chess Federation said on Friday its ethics commission had suspended long-time president, Russian businessman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, for having allegedly violated the organization’s code of ethics.

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Ilyumzhinov, who has headed the federation since 1995, is being suspended after the commission says it found that he had “acted in a manner incompatible with his duty to put the interests of FIDE above his own personal interests,” among other alleged violations.

The commission did not elaborate on the specifics of the alleged violations in its statement and did not respond to a Reuters request for further comment.

Ilyumzhinov was added to a U.S. sanctions list in November 2015 for allegedly “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of” the Syrian government, as well as the country’s central bank and its governor, according to the sanctions designation.

Ilyumzhinov has denied the accusations.

When contacted by Reuters on Friday, Ilyumzhinov said his suspension was a “purely political decision” based on the fact that he was under U.S. sanctions.

“I consider this illegal,” he said. “It’s meddling in the internal affairs of the organization, it’s a human rights violation and that’s why I don’t plan on resigning. I consider myself the president of FIDE.”

FIDE also did not respond to a request to comment on Ilyumzhinov’s statement that the decision was politically driven.

In December 2015 FIDE said that Ilyumzhinov was withdrawing from “any legal, financial and business operations” over his addition to the U.S. sanctions list and that deputy president Georgios Makropoulos would be exercising these prerogatives.

Makropoulos could not be reached for comment on Friday.

FIDE’s website still lists Ilyumzhinov as president.

Ilyumzhinov told Reuters he was planning to file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland later on Friday. CAS did not reply to a request for comment.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Jon Boyle