Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich is experiencing delays in renewing his UK visa which also resulted in the Russian oligarch missing out on attending the FA Cup. Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 to win the English domestic title at Wembley on Saturday.
A source close to the Russian suggested he was in the process of renewing his visa, and said it was taking a little longer than usual. While it hasn’t been officially cited, the delay comes at a time when London and Moscow are embroiled in diplomatic tension over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.
Asked about the visa, Security Minister Ben Wallace said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases,” as per the BBC. Abramovich’s office, meanwhile, said it does not discuss personal matters with the media. Reports have suggested that his investor visa expired three weeks ago.
Abramovich has been owner of the companies that control Chelsea in 2003. The Russian has made his fortune in oil and gas in the 1990s. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, he is Britain’s 13th-richest man, with a reported net worth of £9.3 billion. He owns a mansion on Kensington Palace Gardens, the most expensive street in London.
His links to Russia are believed to run deep with British media speculating Abramovich has been able to run his business in Russia without much interference from the Kremlin suggesting a close relationship with President Vladimir Putin. He is also the former governor of the remote Chukotka region in Russia’s Far East.
Abramovich missing a key game is a rarity considering he’s been a regular visitor to Stamford Bridge since buying Chelsea and has been to Wembley for previous cup finals.
His private Boeing 767 left the UK on April 1. It has since travelled to Moscow, New York, Monaco and Switzerland but has reportedly not returned back to Britain.