Roman Abramovich 'has shares in company that helps build Russian tanks'
It is claimed he transferred the shares to himself last month
Roman Abramovich owns shares in a Russian steel manufacturing company whose material is used to build tanks for Russian armed forces which are currently invading Ukraine, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The report states that the Chelsea FC owner transferred his large shareholding in Evraz to himself in an offshore account in February, just eight days before Russian president Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion.
Evraz, which is listed on the London stock exchange, saw its share price drop 70 per cent last month following Russia's sustained attack on Ukraine.
It is thought that the transferring of Abramovich's shares will make them more immune to impending sanctions, and also easier to sell.
Grzegorz Kuczyński, director of the Eurasia Program at the Warsaw Institute, told Sportsmail: "There was a risk that this offshore company would become a subject of sanctions. Evraz steel is used to build tanks, amongst other things.
"The company is important for the Russian arms industry, in this sense. It is important for Russia's war plans, including with regard to Ukraine."
A spokesperson for Abramovich denied that Evraz is used for military equipment, insisting 'rail and construction,' contradicting a 2017 document provided by Evraz that stated its Chicago branch made "several products critical to US National Security… such as armoured plate for US military."
The Chelsea owner, who acquired his fortune in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and is now estimated to be worth $13.1 billion, has business interests in both Russia and Ukraine.
Experts say he can therefore ill-afford a prolonged war, despite his historic ties to the Kremlin.
It was reported on Wednesday that Abramovich could eradicate the possibility of having a key asset frozen by selling Chelsea FC, offering Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss the chance to buy the club from him.
The 86-year-old claimed that he was one of four people who had been offered the chance to buy the club on Tuesday.
"Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England, he also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly," he said.
"I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.
"I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much.
"You know, Chelsea owe him £2 billion. But Chelsea has no money.
"As of today, we don’t know the exact selling price."