Chelsea Football Club owner moves to Israel, becoming richest Israeli citizen

The owner of the Chelsea Football Club in London arrived in Tel Aviv and received Israeli citizenship, making him the richest person in the country.

By: World Israel News Staff

Russian-Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea Football Club, landed as an immigrant at Ben Gurion Airport late Monday morning.

He is now the wealthiest Israeli. The British press estimates his worth at $12.5 billion. Forbes says he has a net worth of $11.5 billion.

“Roman Abramovich arrived at the Israeli embassy in Moscow like any other person. He filed a request to receive an immigration permit, his documents were checked according to the Law of Return, and he was indeed found eligible,” a Ministry of Interior spokesperson told Channel 10 news.

According to Globes, Abramovich, 51, owns the Varsano boutique hotel in Tel Aviv’s trendy Neve Tzedek neighborhood, which he is converting into his Israeli home. He bought the hotel from famous actress Gal Gadot’s husband and brother-in-law.

“Although a frequent visitor to Israel, it is unclear whether Abramovich will spend more time in the country or whether taking citizenship was simply a ploy to counter British refusal to grant him a visa,” Globes reported.

Abramovich has close ties to Russian President Putin. London has reportedly refused to extend the tycoon’s visa due to a diplomatic quarrel with Moscow.

Abramovich is the founding donor of Tel Aviv University’s new Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, scheduled to open in 2020, The Jerusalem Post reported in January. He made a $30 million commitment to the project in 2015, but the identity of the donor had been a secret.

Abramovich has also invested in more than a dozen Israeli startups.