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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Roman Abramovich told he should not be allowed to own Chelsea

Roman Abramovich should not be allowed to own Chelsea, a Labor MP has told Parliament during discussions around the Government’s response to the Ukraine crisis. Chris Bryant said the 55-year-old tycoon should be “no longer able to own a football club in this country” on the basis of a document he had obtained.

Bryant said he had seen “a leaked document from 2019 from the Home Office which says in relation to Mr Abramovich – ‘As part of HMG’s Russia strategy aimed at targeting illicit finance and malign activity, Abramovich remains of interest to HMG due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices’.”

He added: “’HMG is focused on ensuring individuals linked to illicit finance and malign activity are unable to base themselves in the UK and will use the relevant tools at its disposal, including immigration powers to prevent this’.

“That is nearly three years ago and yet remarkably little has been done in relation. Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country? Surely we should be looking at seizing some of his assets including his £152 million home? And making sure that other people who have had Tier 1 Visas like this are not engaged in malign activity?”

Commons Leader Mark Spencer replied: “He will know under the sanctions passed in the House this week there is the opportunity for the Government to take very strong action against high-profile Russian individuals who are of concern.

“He will be aware that the Home Secretary will be at this dispatch box next Monday for Home Office questions and I am sure he will be able to challenge her directly.”

The Chelsea owner, now 55, has repeatedly refuted any suggestion that he has direct links with Putin. Last December, he settled a high-profile libel lawsuit brought against HarperCollins after claiming that a book, Putin’s People, contained “false and defamatory” statements regarding the 2003 acquisition of Chelsea.

Since 2018, when Abramovich withdrew his UK visa application, he has acquired both Israeli and Portuguese citizenship. He attended a match at Stamford Bridge for the first time in three years in November.

Boris Johnson had already faced pressure on Tuesday from Labor’s Margaret Hodge to toughen up powers against Russia to allow for the extension of sanctions which might include Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov.


World Nation News Desk
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