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Chess Chief Pledges to Face Electric Chair Over Islamic State Claims

Pat Sullivan / AP

The president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) has pledged to face the electric chair in order to clear his name of accusations that he financially helped the Islamic State, the R-Sport news website reported Thursday.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a multimillionaire and the former president of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, was placed on a U.S. Treasury blacklist on Nov. 25, 2015. The designation was based on claims that he helped the Syrian government buy crude oil from the Islamic State. As a result, his U.S. assets have been frozen.

“I am ready to take American citizenship, so that I can fight my case on American soil,” Ilyumzhinov told the R-Sport news website.

“I have even appealed to U.S. President [Barack Obama]. I've told officials that I would fly to them, unarmed, to prove my innocence, and they have not allowed it. I am willing to face the electric chair, if they prove my guilt,” he said.

Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.

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