One of the richest men in England, Roman Abramovich was born in Russiawidely believed to be a member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circleis said to be conducting a sale of his UK assets, including his $260 million London fortune empire and his multibillion-dollar stake in Chelsea football club, because of fears his assets would be frozen by British lawmakers.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss said on Wednesday he has been invited to become London’s iconic football club, telling the Swiss newspaper Blick: “Abramovich is looking to sell his mansion in England, he also wants to get out of Chelsea quickly. Me and three others received an offer to buy Chelsea from Abramovich on Tuesday. I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is now asking too much.”
Wyss said he was not given an “exact selling price” and would not agree to a deal unless he was part of a consortium of investment partners with him. However Blick The deal is said to be worth about $2.5 billion.
Wyss’ comments come after British lawmaker Chris Bryant used parliamentary prerogation on Tuesday to accuse Abramovich of plotting a quick sale of his title properties in London, including a valuable home $200 million on the city’s most exclusive street, where his neighbors include Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Bryant said during a congressional debate: “I think [Abramovich] fear of punishment, that’s why tomorrow he will sell his house and sell another apartment. My worry is that we are taking too long on these things.”
He added that he feared the billionaire would “sell everything by the time we start sanctioning him.”
Bryant has frequently been a thorn in Abramovich’s side: Last week, he used congressional debate to convey from a leaked Interior Department report alleging Abramovich was flagged by an investigation by the government in 2019 because of its links to the Russian state and its “corrupt activities and practices. ”
The move to sell Chelsea comes after a week of uncertainty for the club. Two days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Abramovich said in a statement: “Today, I give the trustees of the Chelsea charity the right to manage and take care of Chelsea FC. I believe they are currently in the best position to look after the interests of the club, players, staff and fans. ”
However, the proposal appeared to have taken the trustees by surprise: They were quick to report the move as a “serious incident” to Britain’s Charity Commission.
It was one of the very few public statements Abramovich has ever made about Chelsea.
Last year, his fortune was said to be about 15 billion USD. However, that changed with the demise of Evraz, the London-listed mining giant in which he had a substantial stake. It dropped 84% in value when the sanctions hit, and knocked his wealth, with Forbes put his real-time net worth on Wednesday at $12.6 billion.
Abramovich was born in Saratov, southwestern Russia, orphaned at the age of 3 and raised by his uncle. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he made billions of dollars from former state-owned energy companies that he bought in the 1990s. By 2008, when his net worth hit $23 billion, he the richest man in Russia.
He is not believed to have spent any significant time in the UK since 2018, when his UK visa application was withdrawn.
Abramovich was involved in stalled peace talks between the Russians and the Ukrainians, reported after an invitation from Ukrainian film producer Alexander Rodnyansky to be loved.