Roman Abramovich, January 2018.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire businessman and owner of the soccer team Chelsea FC, immigrated to Israel on Thursday, according to Israel Hayom.
Abramovich’s decision to immigrate to Israel comes amid the recent expiration of the businessman’s work visa in Britain, which may have prompted him to move to Israel with the other owners of the club.
Following the Sergei Skripal incident, in which a Russian military intelligence officer who acted as a double agent for UK’s intelligence services was poisoned with a nerve agent, tensions have risen between the United Kingdom and Russia.
Abramovich’s stay in Britain came to a close when his work visa expired and the authorities would not renew his visa, causing the owner of Chelsea to miss his team’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester United on Saturday night.
The Jewish billionaire was reportedly in the process of building a mansion in Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek neighborhood. According to Forbes, Abramovich, at the age of 51, retains a net value of $9.1 billion and was ranked as the 139th richest person in the world and 12th richest person in Russia in 2017.
Reports that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich may be emigrating to Israel are unconfirmed rumors, a Daily Mail article published Thursday evening stated.
The article reported that claims in the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom
that Abramovich arrived in Israel Thursday to make aliya, and is even building a house near Tel Aviv, were denied by both Tel Aviv and Moscow, with both saying they had no information on the matter.
"This is a sort of rumor," an Israeli Ministry of Aliya and Integration spokeswoman told Russia's state-owned Sputnik news agency, according to the Daily Mail. "We know the names of people arriving at airports today, we receive this information. Abramovich's name is not [on the list]."
Abramovich’s business ventures include Millhouse Capital, Evraz (a coal and steel mining company) and Norenickel (a nickel and palladium mining and smelting company).
Abramovich acquired the Chelsea team in 2003, and has had many milestones of success since, including a 2012 victory in the Champions League.
The Russian oligarch is a frequent visitor of Israel and a philanthropist
of both the State of Israel and Jewish communities in Russia. Abramovich received a special award from the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia
for his contributions of over $500 million over the past 20 years to Jewish causes in Israel and Russia.
The Chelsea owner is believed to have landed in Israel on Thursday to complete the immigration process.
In recent months, Chelsea FC led the campaign, “Say no to antisemitism,”
spearheaded by Abramovich as a means to raise awareness and counter bigotry aimed at Jews.Tamara Zieve contributed to this report.