CHELSEA OWNER , ABRAMOVICH, TAKES ISRAELI CITIZENSHIP

CHELSEA OWNER , ABRAMOVICH, TAKES ISRAELI CITIZENSHIP

Chelsea owner and Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, has reportedly taken Israeli citizenship on Monday.

Abramovich whose Chelsea which he bought in 2003 last weekend won the FA Cup could not attend the match as he is without a British visa.

His British visa expired last month and sources have told Reuters it was taking longer than usual to get it renewed. The British government has declined to comment on his case.

It was further gathered that the British authorities have reportedly ordered Roman Abramovich to explain the origin of his billions before considering his visa renewal application.

Israeli passport holders can enter Britain without a visa for short stays, although they require visas to work there.

The Ynet website that belongs to Israel’s biggest selling daily, Yedioth Aharonoth, reported that Abramovich, who is Jewish, jetted into Tel Aviv on Monday and had received documents confirming his status as an Israeli citizen.

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.

A spokesman for Abramovich also declined to comment on the report.

Israel grants citizenship to any Jew wishing to move there, and a passport can be issued immediately.

Relations between Moscow and London have been strained since the poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal in Britain in March, an act Britain has blamed on Russia but in which the Kremlin denies any involvement.

Abramovich has been a regular visitor to Israel and Ynet said he had bought a property that was formerly a hotel, in an old Tel Aviv neighbourhood close to the Mediterranean shore.

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