Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich granted Israeli citizenship

Reuters Staff  Reuters

Reuters Staff Reuters

The Russian-Jewish billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, Roman Abramovich, has flown to Tel Aviv after being found eligible for Israeli citizenship.

An Israeli immigration absorption ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports but a spokeswoman for the Population Administration which oversees border control confirmed that the billionaire was in Israel.

Israel's Law of Return gives every Jew, or child or grandchild of a Jew, the right to Israeli citizenship on demand.

Joe Skipper  Reuters                   Abramovich's little boat
Joe Skipper Reuters Abramovich's little boat

The official was not authorized to talk to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Roman Abramovich arrived at the Israeli embassy in Moscow like any other person".

Mr Abramovich, who is Jewish, flew to Tel Aviv on Monday and obtained documents confirming his status as an Israeli citizen, the Israeli news site Ynet reported.

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The Tier 1 investor visa that Abramovich has used to visit London regularly in recent years expired in April, and has yet to be renewed amid reports that United Kingdom authorities had demanded that he declare the source of his vast fortune as political tensions with Russian Federation escalate.

A spokesman for Mr Abramovich also declined to comment on the claims. Israeli passport holders can enter Britain without a visa for short stays, which would mean that Abramovich would be able to visit England, though he will still need a visa to work there.

There has been a delay in processing Abramovich's British visa amid a Whitehall crackdown on Russian applications in the aftermath of the Sergei Skripal nerve agent poising which Theresa May has blamed on Moscow.

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The Sunday Times Rich List put Mr Abramovich's wealth at £9.3bn, and he is now the richest man in Israel. He has owned the team since 2003 and has been present at almost every game, until his visa problems began.

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