In case you were wondering why Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich did not attend Chelsea’s FA Cup final win over Manchester United in London yesterday, it’s because he cannot legally enter the country right now. His United Kingdom visa expired in April, and according to multiple reports, he’s experiencing a delay in renewal.
It is the policy of the government agency that handles processing visas to not comment on reasons for delay. However, given that Abramovich is now based in London, is Britain’s 13th richest man according to the Sunday Times with £9.3bn, and tensions escalating between Great Britain and Ambramovich’s native Russia, this is obviously a major news development.
Abramovich, an oligarch who built his massive fortune during the Boris Yeltsin era, has kept his assets during the Vladimir Putin regime while other oligarchs had their holdings seized. That’s because Abramovich was able to align himself with Putin when the President took power, and the two remain close allies today.
British-Russian relations are at a tipping point, the Daily Star writes, over “the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March. Britain has accused Moscow of being behind the incident, sparking a diplomatic crisis.
“It is not yet clear if the oligarch’s visa issues are connected to the poisoning, although there were calls in the wake of the poisoning for sanctions designed to punish Russia’s super-rich who own homes in the UK.”
The United States government has also made a push for sanctions against the Russian oligarchs who, along with Putin, run a socioeconomically polarized nation.
Abramovich made the U.S. government’s “Putin list” of oligarchs that were put on notice this past winter, but he was not among those who were later sanctioned.
Despite being a Premier League club owner, and the very high public profile job that comes with such a position, Roman Abramovich remains largely mysterious. He’s notoriously publicity shy, and rarely ever gives interviews. He is however, close to U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner, both of whom are now White House Senior Advisors.
Since purchasing the club in 2003, Chelsea have won 16 titles, more than any other club in England over that span. To learn more about Abramovich, watch this video below.
In the clip, author James Montague (“The Billionaires Club: The Unstoppable Rise of Football’s Super-rich Owners”) explains how he made his fortune, how he kept it, and speculates on why he bought Chelsea, other than for the fact that he was “bored”.
The video, much like the rest of the Meet The Billionaires series, is fascinating.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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