Chelsea owner Abramovich takes Israeli citizenship

Reuters Staff  Reuters

An Israeli official says Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has received Israeli citizenship after his British visa was not renewed.

According to media reports, Abramovich's British visa has run out and the application process for a new visa has been taking longer than usual.

He was caught up in a crackdown after Theresa May targeted Russian oligarchs in a tit-for-tat war with Moscow.

Abramovich was able to obtain citizenship under the Law of Return, which allows Jews to become citizens of Israel, according to the Times of Israel.

Incidentally, with his new citizenship, Abramovich has instantly become Israel's richest person - and perhaps he'll find it easier to get back into the United Kingdom as an Israeli citizen.

He will live in a mansion in Tel Aviv's neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, a former hotel he purchased from Israeli Hollywood actress Gal Gadot, Ynet reported.

Joe Skipper  Reuters                   Abramovich's little boat
Joe Skipper Reuters Abramovich's little boat

Relations between Moscow and London have been strained since the poisoning in Salisbury of the former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March.

The Russian oligarch, who is worth an estimated £8.6 billion, instantly became Israel's wealthiest person after receiving his citizenship on Monday.

Spokesmen for Netanyahu's office contacted by AFP did not confirm or deny the report.

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.

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

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