Russian billionaire and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich has been granted Israeli citizenship and will move to Tel Aviv, according to a spokesman from the Israeli government.
Abramovich, who is Jewish, had been facing lengthy delays in renewing his British visa, which expired last month. The Home Office has declined to comment on his case.
The Guardian says “the British government would have required some financial disclosures if Abramovich’s UK visa was to be renewed”, adding that “Abramovich fell foul of tighter regulations imposed in 2015”.
His visa application came against a backdrop of deteriorating diplomatic relations between London and Moscow over the poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March.
“There have been calls in Britain for sanctions that would hurt super-rich Russians with homes in London,” the AFP news agency reports.
Abramovich flew into Israel early yesterday in his private jet, and received an Israeli identity card under the Law of Return, which allows Jewish people to become citizens of Israel.
As a new citizen, “Abramovich is exempt from taxes in Israel on income earned abroad for ten years, and need not declare the sources of that income for the same period”, the Times of Israel says.
By moving to Tel Aviv, Abramovich – whose personal wealth is estimated to be £8.6 billion – will instantly become the richest person in Israel.
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