Friday 16 November 2018

Abramovich ‘granted Israeli citizenship’ as UK reviews oligarch visas

The billionaire Chelsea owner’s British visa was reportedly not renewed.

Abramovich sued over oil shares
Abramovich sued over oil shares

By Ilan Ben Zion, Associated Press

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has received Israeli citizenship after his British visa was not renewed, an Israeli official has said.

The Chelsea football club owner arrived in Israel on Monday, according to the official from Israel’s Immigration Ministry.

The country grants automatic citizenship to anyone of Jewish descent.

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Salisbury incident

Another official told Channel 10 News that Mr Abramovich submitted a citizenship request “like any other person” with Israel’s Moscow embassy and was accepted.

Britain said this month it would review long-term visas of rich Russians after the March poisonings of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

The poisonings sparked a Cold War-style diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West, including the expulsion of hundreds of diplomats from both sides.

Britain has accused Russia of exposing them to a nerve agent. Moscow denies the charge.

Then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in March that the British government was reviewing Tier 1 investor visas granted to about 700 wealthy Russians.

Mr Abramovich’s visa troubles first were reported earlier this month by the Russian media outlet The Bell. It quoted two unnamed sources as saying the football team owner’s British visa expired in April.

Mr Abramovich was noticeably absent from the stands when Chelsea won England’s FA Cup final at Wembley on May 19.

The British government said it would not comment on individual cases. Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said visa applications from Russia are dealt with “rigorously and properly.”

Press Association

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