Swiss bank UBS closed all of the federation’s accounts after FIDE failed to remove president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for his alleged ties with IS extremists and the Assad government.
In 2015, Ilyumzhinov was added to the US Treasury Department sanctions list for his reported dealings with IS and for “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria.”
The Russian millionaire denies any wrongdoing and has stepped back from the world chess body in an attempt to resolve the issue, the BBC reported.
Lausanne-based FIDE’s treasurer, Adrian Siegel, admitted the allegations were “a serious problem” that had “severely damaged” the organization’s business dealings.
“After more than two years of [Ilyumzhinov’s] presence on the sanction list…UBS has announced that they will immediately close our accounts,” he said in a statement.
“It was only a question of time until we face this serious problem,” Siegel noted, adding the organization had “anticipated some problems” while they were searching for a “new bank connection.”
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Ilyumzhinov’s defense team said he denied the “outrageous and false allegations made against him” and said he was “not aware that FIDE’s bank accounts have been frozen by UBS.”
The Russian millionaire, who is still listed as the organization’s president on its website, claimed the accusations were “a smear campaign related to a power struggle” ahead of the world chess body’s elections later this year.
Last year, Ilyumzhinov told Russia’s TASS news agency that FIDE was trying to “oust” him after a statement was published on its website claiming he had resigned.
“I think there is an American hand in this, and I think it’s called a set-up,” he said.
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