Roman Abramovich is selling Chelsea FC & trying to stay ahead of the sanctions

Of all the Russian oligarchs and friends-of-Putin, Roman Abramovich is one of the most famous and he gets the most publicity. He moved to the UK years ago, and he has Israeli citizenship. He owns yachts and properties around the world, but he’s made some kind of home for himself in the UK. He owns a huge $260 million mansion in London, just down the road from Kensington Palace. He owns the Chelsea Football Club too, although at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he announced that he was stepping back from making club-owner decisions. It should be noted that Abramovich is sort of considered the most diplomatic of all of the oligarchs too – he’s apparently been in frequent contact with Ukrainian leaders, and Ukraine requested his presence at peace talks with Russia. Still, Abramovich sees the writing on the wall, and he’s trying to stay one step ahead of the sanctions – he’s selling off his substantial stake in Chelsea and he’s selling his place in London too. He hopes to get everything sold in the next week or so.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich announced Wednesday he plans to sell Chelsea Football Club, as it is “in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.” No timetable was provided but Abramovich said the sale “will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process.”

British Member of Parliament Chris Bryant had previously called for Abramovich to lose ownership of Chelsea after seeing a leaked 2019 UK government document that said Abramovich was of interest due to his “links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices,” the MP said in a Twitter post. “Surely, Mr. Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country?” he added.

Abramovich himself has not been sanctioned by the UK, according to the sanctions list website.

In a statement Wednesday, Abramovich said that the net proceeds from the sale will be donated to a foundation set up to help those impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid,” the statement said. “This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”

[From CNN]

Contrary to CNN’s lukewarm reporting, British and European sources say flat-out that Abramovich is looking to sell everything quickly and he’s already contacted various rich Europeans about putting together a fire-sale deal for Chelsea FC. Interestingly, Abramovich has positioned himself well and he has allies. He donates extensively to charity, and Israel’s Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, has already petitioned the American government and asked that Abramovich be excluded from the oligarch-sanctions specifically because he’s such a major charitable donor. As for Abramovich’s claim that he’s setting up a charity with whatever money he makes from the Chelsea FC sale… I don’t know. It sounds like money laundering to me! It also sounds like he’s very concerned about the sanctions.

I’ve been watching a lot of CNN and MSNBC this week and there was a conversation about whether the oligarchs actually have any power to tell Putin to pull out of Ukraine, or to have a real conversation with Putin about how he’s destroying the Russian economy to the point where it will take decades for Russia to recover. There was one Russian expert who said no, the oligarchs probably won’t say that because Putin will just say to them “look, I made you rich, I can do it again, you just have to eat these losses for the time being.” It’s frightening to consider that no one could talk sense to Putin, not even his oligarch buddies.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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30 Responses to “Roman Abramovich is selling Chelsea FC & trying to stay ahead of the sanctions”

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  1. jferber says:

    Abromovich needs to have his possession yanked by the U.S. government NOW. He stole the Russian people’s money to live a life of insane luxury.

  2. Colby says:

    “look, I made you rich, I can do it again, you just have to eat these losses for the time being.”

    100% that’s what’s happening. One of the many things that makes it hard to fight against a dictator is they don’t have to worry about elections or term limits, so they have all the time in the world to plan and plot. And unless he assassinated, he’ll still be in power once this is over. Putin has been planning this for decades and will have made assurances to these people.

  3. Digital Unicorn says:

    Of course he is – he and others stole from the Russian people, people that they continue to steal from to fund their crazy lives. They don’t care about the innocent people their money is killing as let’s face it its people like him who are funding Putin’s war.

    He should also face war crimes at the Hague!!

    • BothSidesNow says:

      They should ALL be arrested and termed to life while their wealth is sold and restored to the Russian citizens than gross about $10,300.00 USD a year!! Which with the fall of the Rubble to nothing, they are all screwed!!!!

      As for ALL of the oligarchs, they should certainly have every bit of funds, assets, properties, off-shore and multiple homes stripped of all of their wealth!! This POS should get nothing for his assets from stolen gains.

    • linda says:

      Obama should also face war crimes at the Hague for what he did in Libya.

  4. Amy Bee says:

    The British Government is being criticised for giving the Russian oligarchs time to divest of their properties and assets before seizure. But nobody should be surprised by this because the Conservative party is a major beneficiary of the oligarchs’ donations. Then there’s the question of whether anybody could afford to buy Chelsea.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      They should be thrown into the streets with the likes of the oligarchs bunch!! @ Amy Bee, they should immediately cease all sales no matter whether they hold a Israeli citizenship or not. These are all illegal assets.

      This truly pisses me off that the British government is allowing these criminals to clean the stink of theft off of them.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      Note for the British Government. When we say freeze the assets, we do not mean give them time to sell and then squirrel away the cash. That defeats the purpose. How disgusting.

  5. bros says:

    I’m reading Putin’s People right now by, Catherine Belton, who Abramovich is trying to sue for saying in her book that he bought FC Chelsea at Putin’s behest as a way of extending Russia’s soft power. Abramovich is one of Putin’s ‘bankers’ doing his deals in London by proxy and doesnt make a move without Putin because he got his riches with Putins direct help, and which Putin indirectly controls/owns.

    These slimy people are all over london buying influence and washing black russian money at institutions all over london, at art galleries, football teams, law firms, schools, etc. London is awash in it and moving much slower on targeted sanctions, compared to other EU countries, even letting these people quietly get their stuff in order and leave the country.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ bros, what a fabulous read at the particular time!! I am going to add this book to my list!!! I am currently reading The 1619 Project as I purchased a new copy a few months ago!! I read the NYT magazine edition and was excited about the book coming out.

      We should start a book reference club as I get so many fabulous recommendations here!!!

      Now I am so intrigued, I want to buy it now and not wait!!! 😊

      • bros says:

        I basically only read books about Russia, at least for the past year: Midnight in Chernobyl, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, This is not Propaganda, Russians Among Us, and now Putin’s People.

        All of them I recommend. Especially Russians Among Us, which details the illegals program and provides history for how London became so coopted by Russian black money and dark influence. It’s not too long. Belton’s book is LONG, like 500+ pages.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ bros, I love to read books though not as many as I like.

      Thank you so much for the recommendation as it will take 2-4 weeks for the book to arrive.

      Thank you so much for the added book recommendations!!!! I will certainly look into Russians Among Us, as that would be an excellent read to be able to dive deep into the unscrupulous actions at the fall of The Soviet Union and who and what the key players participated in and those who did not.

      Interesting that the Russians Among Us is by a British writer!!

    • justgoplaces says:

      I live in London and it’s totally awash in Russian money. I remember seeing a sign for Londongrad near Harrods once. At my kids’ schools, the boarding school kids are panicking because they have to pay next term’s tuition fees. Even the American School in London has a lot of Russian kids. It’s an easy step for them to move onto American universities after ASL. Oligarchs may scramble by with the help of connections but there is a also large collection of merely-rich Russians below the stupid-rich level.

  6. Mel says:

    I knew the UK wouldnt have the guts to sanction someone like him! He positioned himself in a place where people are speaking out and backing him for exemption but heck no! They all need to be sanctioned.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Bunch of gutless wankers! All of them!

      I have been trying to watch the news and they have posted satellite images of Putin’s massive 100’ yacht which has been moved off the coast of Russia.

  7. Jaded says:

    Chelsea is in a huge amount of debt, over £145 million, and could go bankrupt if the government imposes sanctions on Abramovich. He certainly won’t get what he’s asking for it, and as for the money he gets selling off his vast array of mansions, yachts, etc. etc., I doubt he’ll be giving it away to charity. He’s facing financial ruin just like all the other oligarchs, and despite the accolades people are giving him, it’s just putting lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig.

    • Cava 24 says:

      It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. Abramovich offloaded a bunch of properties and some cash to his ex-wife, Dasha Zhukova who is, I believe a US citizen and has a ton of celebrity, political and fashion connections. They are still business partners. I don’t know if they can seize assets that were once his and are now hers. She is now married to a Niarchos so she has connections beyond him for moving assets around.

    • Viklets says:

      The tipoff here is “net proceeds.” That means whatever money is left after he is made whole.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Agree!!! He is still a pig, lipstick or not. And no, pearls will not charge the fact that he is still a pig 🐷

  8. Rice says:

    I’ve got 10 bucks cold hard cash. Anybody willing to be a co-owner?

  9. Jay says:

    He says the proceeds will go to help those impacted by the Ukraine Russian war. It’s noticable that he even refers to it as a war (when that term has supposedly been banned in Russia), but count me as skeptical about the wording: who will decide what or who counts as “impacted”? I’m sure some Russian military members would consider themselves as having been adversely impacted by the war, for example, do they get money?

    Why set up a foundation to disperse funds when there are already many organizations working on the ground, unless it’s just a tax/ sanctions shelter. And finally, he’s a freaking billionaire: if he really wants to help, he could donate a sizable chunk of cash to any or all humanitarian groups he chooses without waiting for the sale of the team. It doesn’t pass the smell test.

  10. K says:

    My heart breaks when I think of Ukraine. My heart and mind are also with the Russian people who do not seem to want this war and who for the most part have been ground down into their own soil by leaders and Czars for hundreds of years now. The changes must come from their will. I am so sick to see the outrageous wealth of these oil kings and the ruin of everyone around them.

    • SomeChick says:

      ITA. Putin doesn’t have to listen to anyone! it’s like if T***p was smarter, and couldn’t be removed from office. the only way to get rid of a despot is to depose him.

  11. jferber says:

    I just read that this war criminal is claiming he’ll donate his proceeds for selling Chelsea FC to the Ukraine victims. THIS IS TOTAL BULLSHIT. He will NEVER donate a RUBLE to the Ukrainians. F-cking garbage.

  12. ML says:

    I read this article in The Guardian about him. (For some reason my paste function no longer works.) In the article there is serious doubt that Roman Abramovich’s intended use of this money. It seems that he will also be funding Russians.

    • Jaded says:

      Of course he’s funding Russian interests (and himself). These oligarchs have the morals of a sea slug.

  13. Rise & Shine says:

    He is not trustworthy in the least. He has been very close to Jared and Ivanka for many years. Now he is trying to get out of being sanctioned, because he is such a great guy. Unbelievable. With so much want and need in this world and these people will do ANYTHING to hold onto their own billions and sick greed need for power. Believe me, this guy is a huge problem, very creepy, he and his crew have an agenda alright and it is not one that is in the best interest of the world.

  14. Dark n stormy says:

    @kaiser — for real scary insight into Putin read Politico’s interview with Fiona Hill.