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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich ‘granted Israeli citizenship’

With Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich still lacking a visa to Britain, the Russian billionaire has apparently today been granted Israeli citizenship.

According to an Israeli media report, Abramovich took Israeli citizenship on Monday and will move to Tel Aviv where he has bought a property.

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His British visa expired last month and sources have said that it was taking longer than usual to get it renewed. 

The Ynet website, that belongs to Israel’s biggest selling daily, Yedioth Aharonoth, said Abramovich, who is Jewish, jetted into Tel Aviv and had received documents confirming his status as an Israeli citizen.

A source close to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (above) declined to comment on a report that the tycoon made a flying visit to Tel Aviv in order to obtain Israeli citizenship (stock photo)

An Israeli immigration absorption ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the report citing individual privacy but a spokeswoman for the Population Administration which oversees border control confirmed that Abramovich was in Israel. 

A source close to Abramovich, who has been counted as one of the richest men in Britain since he bought the English Premier League soccer club in 2003, has declined to comment on a report that he made a flying visit to Tel Aviv in order to obtain Israeli citizenship.

A Russian language newspaper in the country said the 51-year-old tycoon was on the ground at Ben Gurion Airport for around three hours after arriving by private jet.

‘He was issued a certificate of a new repatriate (Teudat Oleh) and an identity card (Teudat Zehut),’ reported Vesty.

He then went ‘to open a bank account and arrange medical insurance’.

‘In total, Abramovich spent about three hours in Israel,’ stated the report.

‘He then flew away on his plane, the direction unspecified.’

The story was headlined: ‘Roman Abramovich has become a new immigrant to Israel.’

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. The Kremlin denies any involvement.

He was unable to travel to Britain to watch Chelsea win the FA Cup Final this month.

Reports last week suggested Abramovich was expected in Israel to seek citizenship but he did not arrive.

It is understood the tycoon regards such matters as personal.

There was no confirmation or denial today on the Vesty story from an associate.

Abramovich is a Russian citizen and is known to have Jewish ancestry on his paternal side.

Israel grants citizenship to any Jew wishing to move there, and a passport can be issued immediately. Israeli passport holders can enter Britain without a visa for short stays, although they require visas to work there.

Abramovich has been a regular visitor to Israel and Ynet said he had bought a property that was formerly a hotel, in an old Tel Aviv neighbourhood close to the Mediterranean shore.

 The British government has declined to comment on his case.


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