The World Chess Federation (Fide) states that their Swiss bank accounts have been closed after its president was accused of facilitating transactions on behalf of the government of Syria.
Russian billionaire Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was added to a US Treasury Department sanctions list in 2015 for their alleged relations with the Assad government.
He denies irregularities, and took a step back from the Fide to try to resolve the problem.
But Faith, says the Swiss bank UBS closed their accounts, since it is still sanctioned.
Lausanne, based on the Faith of the treasurer, Adrian Siegel, acknowledged the problem was “a serious problem” that had “severely damaged” the organization of the business.
“After more than two years of Kirsan Ilyumzhinow [sic] of the presence in the list of sanctions… UBS has announced that it will immediately close our accounts,” he said in a statement.
“It was only a matter of time until we face this serious problem,” Mr. Siegel said, adding that the expected “some problems”, while they looked for a “new bank”connection.
In a separate statement, Mr. Ilymuzhinov of the defense team said that he denied the “outrageous and false accusations made against him” and said he “was not aware that the Faith in the bank accounts have been frozen by UBS”.
Mr Ilyumzhinov, who is listed as president of Fide in its website, said that the accusations were part of a “smear campaign, related to the struggle for power” in the organisation ahead of the elections at the end of this year.
Storm brews over Saudi chess tournament
‘Pawnographic’ of the Chess World logo mocked
In March of 2017, Mr Ilyumzhinov was quoted by Russia’s Tass news agency as saying that FIDE, the governing body of international chess competitions, was trying to “expel” him after a statement on his website said he had resigned.
“I think that there is an American hand in this, and I think that is called a set-up.”Eccentric character
Mr Ilyumzhinov, a former businessman and politician, has long been regarded as an eccentric character.
He once said on television that have met aliens on board a spaceship.
He was the president of the Republic of Kalmykia, a small Buddhist region of Russia which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea, for 17 years.
As head of the World Chess Federation since 1995, has spent tens of millions of dollars turning the impoverished republic into a mecca for chess players – building an entire village to host international tournaments.
But in November of 2015, the US Treasury Department put it on a list of sanctions to “help materially, and who act for or on behalf of the Government of Syria”.
The list also includes an intermediary accused of facilitating the Syrian government purchases oil from the Islamic State group.
The World Chess Federation, says the Lord Ilyumzhinov “has tried without success several times to be removed from this list, and for the moment there is no indication that there will be a change.”
They say that he told the organization on “several occasions that he will be removed from the list of sanctions in the very near future”, which is the reason why the bank allowed their accounts to remain open until now.
UBS said The Telegraph newspaper, which does not comment “on whether the people or organizations who are customers of UBS”, but that follows “all laws and regulations that are applicable to us.”