Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed his outrage to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about the refusal to grant a U.S. visa to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE).
The website of Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on November 14 that Lavrov "expressed his outrage" in a telephone conversation Lavrov had with Kerry earlier in the day.
Ilyumzhinov was blacklisted from entering the United States in November 2015 for what the U.S. Treasury Department said was "materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the government of Syria" and the Central bank of Syria in order to purchase oil from militants of the radical Islamist group Islamic State (IS).
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the refusal of U.S. authorities to grant the visa makes it impossible for Ilyumzhinov to attend the highly anticipated FIDE world championship match in New York between Russian Sergi Karjakin and Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen.
The winner of the match will earn the title of the next world chess champion.
Ilyumzhinov, a Kalmyk multimillionaire businessman who was president of the Russian region of Kalmykia from 1993 to 2010, insists the U.S. sanctions against him are politically motivated.