Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich Reportedly Immigrating to Israel

Following Britain’s refusal to extend his visa, the Russian-Jewish billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich is seeking Israeli citizenship. Israel's Ministry of Immigrant Absorption claims it has no such information

רומן אברמוביץ'
Toby Melville/רויטרס

Following Britain’s refusal to extend his visa, the Russian-Jewish billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich is seeking Israeli citizenship, an Israeli daily reported.

Abramovich, who owns the British Chelsea Football Club, planned to land Thursday in Israel to finalize his aliyah, or immigration to Israel. However, a spokeswoman at Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption told Russia’s state-owned Sputnik news agency that she had no such information.

Abramovich’s British visa expired last month, according to the Israel Hayom daily. His previous visa was granted before more rigorous regulations were instituted in April 2015.

Abramovich will have to explain the source of his wealth to receive the new visa, according to reports. There is no evidence that Abramovich has done anything wrong, but the United Kingdom has scrutinized Russian businesspeople and diplomats more carefully since the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England, in March. Several Russian diplomats were expelled following the incident.

Abramovich missed Chelsea’s Football Association Cup final victory over Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday night. He has owned the team since 2003 and has been present at nearly every game, until his visa problems began, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In 2017, Forbes estimated Abramovich’s net worth at $9.1 billion, making him the 139th richest person in the world. He is Russia’s 12th richest person. Abramovich will rival Eyal Ofer as the richest man in Israel as the chairman of Ofer Global, Zodiac Group and Global Holdings has an estimated net worth of 9.1 billion as well - although he is a permanent resident of Monaco.