Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s boss and a now-threatened empire


One of Russia’s richest men in the ruins of the Soviet Union, Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich was replaced on Thursday by his ties to the Kremlin, whose assets are now frozen by British authorities who have also banned him from travel .

He announced last week a £140m (168m euro) sale of the Premier League club that has been successful since its 2003 takeover, a possibility he believes has now been frozen.

The 55-year-old billionaire with a short white beard, a jet maker and owner of a huge 15-bedroom home in London’s upscale Kensington Borough, was a quick-starter in the 1990s when the British government was set up. one of the businessmen. Russia’s market economy has gained considerable political influence.

The biggest shareholder in steelmaker Evraz, whose wealth Forbes estimates is more than $13 billion, has embarrassed British authorities with his operations in the U.K., as he faces sometimes questionable pressure to end the flow of Russian money into the city of London.

In recent years, he has only been seen in the UK, where he can travel without a visa due to his Israeli nationality. He also received a Portuguese passport, but the country’s judiciary launched an investigation into the conditions of this naturalization.

– Mathematical research –

Born in Saratov, southern Russia on October 24, 1966, the young Roman was orphaned at an early age, raised by his uncle, raised partly in the Russian Far North, studied mathematics in Moscow, and then started business , founded SMEs.

Roman Abramovich’s home in London, 4 March 2022
(AFP – Tolga Akmen)

He quickly became an amazing businessman. In 1996, the government sold a majority stake in the massive oil conglomerate Sibneft for $100 million — a fraction of its actual value. Those titles ended up in Abramovich’s portfolio, where he will resell them to public giant Gazprom for gold.

His fortune is growing rapidly, from oil to aluminum to cars. He joined other businessmen to finance President Boris Yeltsin’s re-election campaign in 1996 and entered the Kremlin, where oligarchs have close ties to the president’s entourage.

– cautiously –

When Vladimir Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin in 2000, he chose to tread carefully and distance himself from the former head of state’s entourage.

So he escaped the fate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an opponent of many years in exile, who also escaped The fate of his own business partner, Boris Berezovski, a fierce critic of power who was found dead at his home in Britain in 2013.

His loyalty was rewarded by the governor of the Chukchi region of the Russian Far East. Russia’s first fortune at a time has sometimes been accused of acting as a “submarine” for the Kremlin in its financial operations.

A 140-meter yacht belonging to Roman Abramovich in the port of Barcelona on March 1, 2022 (AFP - Josep Lago)
A 140-meter yacht belonging to Roman Abramovich in the port of Barcelona on March 1, 2022
(AFP – Jose Lago)

A ball lover, Mr Abramović bought the flagship club in the English capital Chelsea in 2003. CFC has had its best period since the arrival of the Russians, winning 5 English League titles, 2 Champions Leagues and 1 FA Cup.

He lives a luxurious life away from the media, owning a 162-meter yacht, the Eclipse, so much so that it can’t be moored at the “billionaire’s marina” in Antibes on the French Riviera. Thursday’s sanctions allowed it to be seized.

He will own six other yachts.

The father of seven, he separated in 2017 from Daria Joukova, a partner who founded a contemporary art gallery in Moscow.

He apologized in late 2021 to the publisher of a book by British journalist Catherine Belton about Vladimir Putin that claimed the Russian president oversaw a massive Capital outflows to expand its influence. His country is abroad.

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