Chelsea Football Club’s Russian-Jewish billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich is seeking Israeli citizenship.
An Israeli newspaper claimed he landed in Israel on Thursday, to finalise his aliyah, after Britain refused to extend his visa.
Abramovich’s British visa expired last month, according to the Israel Hayom daily, with his previous visa being granted before more rigorous regulations were instituted in April 2015.
Abramovich will have to explain the source of his wealth to receive the new visa, according to reports. There is no evidence that Abramovich has done anything wrong, but the United Kingdom has scrutinised Russian business people and diplomats more carefully since the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England, in March. Several Russian diplomats were expelled following the incident.
Abramovich, who missed Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Manchester United last weekend, has owned the team since 2003 and has been present at nearly every game, until his visa problems began, The Jerusalem Post reported.
In 2017, Forbes estimated Abramovich’s net worth to make him the 139th richest person in the world. He is Russia’s 12th richest person.