Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich 'eligible to be Israeli citizen'

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich 'eligible to be Israeli citizen'

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich 'eligible to be Israeli citizen'

The uncertainty surrounding Roman Abramovich's ownership of Chelsea deepened Thursday when the Premier League club abruptly halted plans to build a new stadium, citing financial issues.

Abramovich is believed to have returned to Moscow after his visa expired last month, and was noticeably absent from the FA Cup final which saw Chelsea beat Manchester United on 19 May.

Earlier in the day, Israeli media reported that Abramovich, who is Jewish, arrived in Israel on Monday and received the documents confirming his Israeli citizenship.

The Chelsea owner, who was previously a resident of Jersey in the Channel Islands, will be eligible for 10 years of tax-free status in Israel, during which time he will not need to declare the source of his income.

The Russian billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, Roman Abramovich, has been granted Israeli citizenship and has reportedly moved to Tel Aviv. Not only is Israel the Jewish homeland, it provides a safe backup residence, as well as rights afforded to Israeli-passport holders, including tax benefits, some protection against extradition and the convenience of visa-free travel across the European Union.

He'll also be able to visit the United Kingdom for up to six months without a visa - however he will not be able to work while in the UK.

Abramovich will have to explain the source of his wealth to receive the new visa, according to reports.

He also indicated that it would be to live in his own house in tel Aviv.

As a new citizen, Abramovich is exempt from taxes in Israel on income earned overseas for 10 years, and need not declare the sources of that income for the same period.

Amid a spiralling diplomatic crisis between London and Moscow over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent, there have been calls in Britain for sanctions that would hurt super-rich Russians with homes in London.

Abramovich served as governor of Russia's remote Chukotka from 2000 to 2008 and pumped in millions of dollars to develop the remote region.

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