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24th Feb 2022

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich ‘barred from living in the UK’

Daniel Brown

Abramovich has never held UK citizenship

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly been effectively barred from living in Britain ever again in the future.

The Russian billionaire, who has not been seen at Stamford Bridge for months, withdrew his application for a British Tier 1 investor visa in 2018 following reported delays in his application. It came after criticism of Russian oligarchs in the wake of the Salisbury poisonings.

As reported by The Sun, senior security sources claim that it’s unlikely that the 55-year-old will ever be allowed to live in Britain again.

It is thought that immigration officials are under instructions to make it impossible for the Chelsea owner – who owns a £152million mansion near Kensington Palace – to live in the United Kingdom, with his case said to be being handled by the Home Office’s ‘Special Cases Unit’.

On Tuesday, Mr Abramovich – who became an Israeli citizen in 2018, which allowed him to enter for Britain for up to six months – was named by MPs as being one of 35 oligarchs identified by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as one of the ‘key enablers’ of the ‘kleptocracy’ run by the country’s president Vladimir Putin.

However, Abramovich categorically denied that he is close to or has ties to the Kremlin, or that he has done anything that would merit sanctions being imposed against him.

The report adds that a senior source claimed that, should an attempt be made by the oligarch to apply for a permanent visa, it would ‘almost certainly be rejected’.

Mr Abramovich, who has owned Chelsea since 2003 but has never held UK citizenship, boasts an estimated wealth of £8.4billion.

The Russian possess a large property portfolio and a series of superyachts – one of which is the £450million Solaris, which has a missile detection system.

A large proportion of his wealth is to be found in Evraz, which is a steel and mining giant listed on the London stock market.

In the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Abramovich’s name, as well as other oligarchs including Arsenal investor Alisher Usmanov, was read out by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss refused to say whether or not Mr Abramovich would be hit with sanctions, but suggested that other people would be.

“We have a long list of those complicit in the actions of the Russian leadership,” she said.

“Should Russia refuse to pull back its troops, we can keep turning up the heat, targeting more banks, elites and companies of significance.

“This is about inflicting pain on Putin and degrading the Russian economic system over time, targeting people that are close to Putin. What we have to do is make it as painful as possible.”

Truss also suggested that English teams should boycott the Champions League final if they make it that far over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A report from AP on Thursday revealed that UEFA are to strip St Petersburg of the right to host this year’s final, with a new venue to be decided in due course.

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