Roman Abramovich linked to Russian state and ‘corrupt activity’, MP says | Roman Abramovich
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was identified by the Home Office in 2019 as having links to the Russian state as well as “corrupt activities and practices”, a Labor MP in parliament said, suggesting that the UK should seize its assets and ban it. to own the football club.
Chris Bryant told MPs he was citing a Home Office document leaked to him and questioned why nothing more had been done about Abramovich’s UK assets given this official verdict.
Highlighting the issue of Tier 1 visas, of the kind held by Abramovich, which allow very wealthy people to invest in the UK, Bryant directly quoted a section of what he said was a Ministry of Foreign Affairs document. Interior.
“I got my hands on a leaked 2019 document, from the Home Office, which says about Mr. Abramovich: ‘As part of HMG’s [Her Majesty’s government] Russia‘s strategy to target illicit finance and malicious activity, Abramovich remains attractive to HMG because of his ties to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activities and practices,” Bryant told the Commons. .
He continued, still citing the document: “’An example of this is Abramovich admitting in a legal proceeding that he paid for political influence. Therefore, HMG is committed to ensuring that those linked to illicit finance and malicious activity cannot base themselves in the UK, and will use the relevant tools at its disposal, including immigration powers, to prevent that.
Bryant added: “That was almost three years ago. And yet, very little has been done. Surely Mr. Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country? Surely we should consider seizing some of his assets, including his £150m home, and making sure other people who have had tier 1 visas like this don’t engage in activities malware in the UK? »
Abramovich, who made his fortune acquiring newly privatized Russian oil assets after the end of the Soviet Union, bought Chelsea in 2003 and invested huge sums in the club.
In 2018 he withdrew his application for a new UK investor visa, amid worsening ties between the UK and Russia. Abramovich has an Israeli passport and has since traveled to the UK using it.
A week ago the government said it was ending the Tier 1 visa system over fears it would allow people to invest ‘dirty money’ in the UK.
Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday as he announced a first wave of action against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, Boris Johnson said Abramovich was ‘already facing sanctions’ over his links to the Russian state. However, Downing Street later said the Prime Minister had made a mistake and officially corrected the record.
Abramovich has vehemently disputed reports suggesting his alleged closeness to Vladimir Putin and Russia or that he did anything to deserve sanctions.
Bryant cannot be prosecuted for citing the report and its claims about Abramovich, because Commons statements are protected by parliamentary privilege.
Representatives for Abramovich have been contacted for comment.