Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich was not among Russian oligarchs targeted with sanctions by the UK today over the invasion of Ukraine – but the war has already cost him £300million in a single day.
The billionaire was named in papers leaked to an MP today that linked him to Vladimir Putin’s regime and ‘public association with corrupt activity and practices’.
The release of the Home Office document led to calls for him to be stripped of his right to own a football club in Britain.
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Downing Street tonight did not name him among those to be punished in the wake of Putin’s strike against Kyiv, instead naming five senior Russia-based cronies of the regime.
But he has been affected nonetheless, via turmoil created in global markets. Shares in mining firms Evraz and Polymetal International fell by between a quarter and a third.
Mr Abramovich is Evraz’s largest shareholder and its shares tumbled to close 30 per cent down on the day – wiping nearly £300 million off his holding.
He has faced renewed focus on his business activities in recent days but has always denied any wrongdoing or grounds for him to be sanctioned.
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This morning Labour MP Chris Bryant used parliamentary privilege to share a leaked Home Office document in the Commons.
He said the document was from 2019, and questioned why no action had yet been taken against the 55-year-old based on its warnings.
At business questions this morning the Rhondda MP and former minister said: ‘I have got hold of a leaked document from 2019 from the Home Office which says in relation to Mr Abramovich – ”As part of HMG’s Russia strategy aimed at targeting illicit finance and malign activity, Abramovich remains of interest to HMG due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices.
”An example of this is Abramovich admitting in court proceedings that he paid for political influence.
”Therefore HMG is focused on ensuring that individuals linked to to illicit finance and malign activity are unable to base themselves in the UK and will use the relevant tools at its disposal, including immigration powers to prevent this”.
‘That is nearly three years ago and yet remarkably little has been done in relation. Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country? Surely we should be looking at seizing some of his assets including his £152million home? And making sure that other people who have had Tier 1 Visas like this are not engaged in malign activity?’.
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