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The Wall Street Journal: Abramovich’s U.S. hedge fund investments are frozen

A number of U.S. hedge-fund firms that have investments from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich have been told to freeze his assets after he was sanctioned by the British government Thursday, according to people familiar with the instructions.

A message from fund administrator SS&C Globe Op to one firm said, “Currently accounts attributed to Roman Abramovich are blocked from transacting, as such any distributions, redemptions or payment cannot be made and no subscriptions or contributions can be accepted.”

SS&C, whose clients include hedge funds and other investment managers, said in the message it was monitoring the situation for guidance from the U.K. Treasury, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. Other funds have received similar messages, according to people familiar with the matter. The guidance likely puts a stop to recent efforts by Abramovich to sell his interests in a slew of hedge funds, said people familiar with the matter.

Abramovich, who for years has accessed hedge-fund investments through New York-based adviser Concord Management, had been trying to sell interests in funds including those managed by Empyrean Capital Partners in Los Angeles and Millstreet Capital Management in Boston, the people said.

Abramovich had been seeking to sell the funds on the secondary market since at least late February, the people said. For at least some of the funds, the investor is Concord, with Abramovich or entities connected with him being the underlying investor, said people familiar with the matter. People familiar with the matter said Concord was a small investor in Millstreet.

Abramovich also is invested through Concord in hedge funds including Millennium Management, Sarissa Capital Management and Sculptor Capital Management
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 formerly known as Och-Ziff Capital Management, said people familiar with the matter. It couldn’t be determined Friday if he had tried to sell his interests in those funds as well. Abramovich’s hedge-fund portfolio includes investments in many small funds betting on and against stocks, one person briefed on the matter said.

A spokeswoman for Abramovich didn’t respond to requests for comment. Concord didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The U.K. on Thursday froze Mr. Abramovich’s assets and prevented him from doing any business in the country or selling assets including soccer club Chelsea F.C.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com.

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