Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is ‘granted Israeli citizenship’.Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich yesterday become an Israeli citizen, a government official has confirmed.
The billionaire had encountered a delay in renewing his British visa after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.
He was caught up in a crackdown after Theresa May targeted Russian oligarchs in a tit-for-tat row with Moscow.
Today (Monday) Abramovich flew into Tel Aviv and received an Israeli identity card under the Law of Return, which allows Jews to become citizens of Israel.
Abramovich has been a regular visitor to Israel, where he has bought a former hotel from Israeli Hollywood actress Gal Gadot in Neve Tzedek an old Tel Aviv neighbourhood, close to the Mediterranean shore.
The Law of Return, which dates back to 1950, is a law giving Jews the right to go and live in Israel, and to gain Israeli citizenship – in 1970, this rule was extended to include people with one Jewish grandparent, and a person who is married to a Jew.
The 51-year-old arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport this morning, Israel’s Interior Ministry confirmed to media.
The Times of Israel reports that the Nativ Liaison Bureau, which facilitates immigration from Russian-speaking countries, said the tycoon applied for citizenship from abroad last week.
‘Roman Abramovich arrived at the Israeli embassy in Moscow like any other person. He filed a request to receive an immigration permit, his documents were checked according to the Law of Return, and he was indeed found eligible,’ a spokesperson told Channel 10 news.
According to a separate Israeli media report, Abramovich will move to Tel Aviv, where he has bought a property, a former hotel.
His British special investor 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 jetted into Tel Aviv and had received documents confirming his status as an Israeli citizen.
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 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.’