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Abramovic UK visa not renewed!!

Bloody hell! Didn't see this coming even if many of us have dreamed of something like it.

The FT broke the story but as most of you don't have access, here is the less detailed Guardian coverage.

Of course we may still bottle this, but for now, what's not to like?
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Comments

  • Happy days
  • edited May 20
    So I've just read The Guardian story, does the FT story make it clear that this is intentional? Because The Guardian says his visa has not been renewed, not that it has been denied. Delaying the approval could of course be intentional, I'm just trying to figure out if this is the government taking a stance or just posturing at this point.

    He would be an interesting person to start with if this is the start of something.
  • Perhaps Two Shats would like to sign him up as our newest manager then.
  • Agreed @SDAddick, that's far from clear. But he is so high profile that I think just posturing would be too high a risk. He's considered to be close to Putin. Here is the FT text

    The UK has yet to renew a visa for Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch and owner of Chelsea football club, after it expired last month, according to four people close to the billionaire.

    London-based Mr Abramovich, who is Britain’s 13th richest man according to the Sunday Times with £9.3bn, left the UK after his investor visa expired and did not attend Chelsea’s 1-0 win in the FA Cup final on Saturday. According to two people close to him he has returned to Russia.

    He also did not testify as expected last week in a London court dispute between two other Russian oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin.

    Pressure is growing to take action against Russian oligarchs in London after the poisoning in March of ex-Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a rare nerve agent in Salisbury. At the time, foreign secretary Boris Johnson promised that the UK would “go after the money” in retaliation of the attack.

    David Davidovich, an associate of Mr Abramovich’s holding company Millhouse, told the court that Mr Abramovich was in Switzerland preparing to appear as a defendant in a separate case.

    “There’s something up with his visa. I don’t know what it is and they don’t know what it is either. Let’s hope they sort it out soon,” a fellow Russian oligarch said.

    One person close to Mr Abramovich said that the request for a visa had not been denied, but that the UK authorities were taking longer than usual to renew it without offering any explanation. A spokesman for Mr Abramovich declined to comment.

    The Home Office declined to comment. “We do not routinely comment on individual cases,” said security minister Ben Wallace.

    Bob Seely, a Conservative MP, said: “Either there is an innocent explanation [for the delay in Mr Abramovich’s visa], or the government is becoming less sympathetic to Russian oligarchs in the UK. Either way, denying visas to oligarchs is potentially important.”

    The news of Mr Abramovich’s visa limbo was first reported by independent Russian news site The Bell.

    Funding for new Chelsea stadium unclear
    “These things happen for mysterious reasons. It must be very frustrating for him not to be able to visit his beloved Chelsea,” said William Browder, a fund manager who campaigns for sanctions against the flow of Russian money into western capitals.

    Chelsea, which Mr Abramovich bought in 2003, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

    The billionaire is known to take a close interest in club affairs, though its day-to-day management is under the control of Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck.

    Chelsea has obtained planning permission to build a new £500m stadium at Stamford Bridge, preparing to break ground on the project in the coming years. It remains unclear how the stadium project will be funded. People close to the plans have said Mr Abramovich, possibly alongside other investors, could cover the cost without the need to tap the club’s finances.

    The Premier League was not aware of the delay to Mr Abramovich’s visa. As a club owner, Mr Abramovich will undergo the League’s yearly fit-and-proper person test before the start of the season in August, although visa status is not a criterion in itself.

    Jersey offered residence to Abramovich
    Mr Abramovich grew his fortune in Russia’s turbulent 1990s by acquiring privatised oil and gas assets from the state, then selling them back to Kremlin at a large profit. He has spent much of his time in London since buying Chelsea, where he owns an estate on the so-called Billionaire’s Row in Kensington Palace Gardens.

    The US named Mr Abramovich on a public “Kremlin Report” of oligarchs in January.

    That month, the authorities in Jersey made Mr Abramovich an offer of residency, which would see him pay no capital gains tax or inheritance tax and a one per cent income tax rate following an initial payment of £145,000 a year. Mr Abramovich has not taken up the offer, according to a person close to him.

    In February, Swiss newspapers reported that Mr Abramovich had twice applied for a residency permit there in 2016 and 2017. Mr Abramovich sued to have the information deleted, but Switzerland’s highest court ruled in favour of the newspapers, Le Matin Dimanche and Sonntags Zeitung. Mr Abramovich withdrew his application, according to a person close to him.

    Home secretary Amber Rudd said in March that Britain would review Tier 1 visas given between 2008 and 2015 to businessmen prepared to invest at least £1m, including about 700 Russians. The qualifying amount has now been raised to £2m.

    On its website the Home Office tells applicants: “You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.”

    According to Transparency International, almost a quarter of all such visas handed out by the UK government between 2008 and 2015 went to Russians, accounting for a minimum of £729m in investment.

    Russian president Vladimir Putin has repeatedly encouraged oligarchs to “de-offshorise” their wealth, but with little success. Despite high demand for a $3bn Russian eurobond late last year, only $200m was bought by oligarchs under special amnesty terms.



  • With a bit of luck he'll take Chelsea with him!
  • Of course it is intentional. But I suspect they will give it to him. They are just firing a shot across the bow of Putin's friends as a warning of what might be to come. I doubt May will do anything to permanently upset voters in one of the richest parts of England.
  • Should not be passing the “fit & proper” test in any season!
  • edited May 20
    Cheers @PragueAddick.

    I don't think I phrased my comment very well. There is the question of whether or not this is just beauracratic delays, but that seems unlikely. The bigger question is what is the government's end game here? If they are starting with Abramovich (and it could be there are others who just haven't become public knowledge yet), it would seem like a weird first step, because he's so high profile I feel like he's someone you ramp up to to drive a point home, not someone you use as a shot across the bow. But there may be components to this I'm missing. And for as many reasons as I have to knock this government, I would certainly commend them for this. I'm just trying to understand their strategy. And also what they're trying to get out of Putin in return.

    Also, this is a good snapshot of the other part of the problem, just how much Russian Oligarch money is tied into the UK economy.

    According to Transparency International, almost a quarter of all such visas handed out by the UK government between 2008 and 2015 went to Russians, accounting for a minimum of £729m in investment.

    If you start denying visas, what happens to that money? Or money for ongoing projects? What I'm trying to get at here is that you have to be in for a penny in for a pound if you're really going to try to get at Putin through the oligarchs.
  • Given that the Home Office clearly have some concerns about someone so closely connected to Putin, I wonder how long it will be before the drongos at the FA translate this in to their "fit and proper" test?
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  • Usmanov the Russian/Uzbek ex convict who owns a big chunk at Arsenal is another who might have visa problems going forward. Best to stick to the facts with Usmanov as he does like issuing legal letters.
  • Why is this good news
  • No problem with Usmanov, he was great in Quo Vadis and Spartacus!
  • A visa renewal always takes a bit of time. Provided you make an application to extend before your visa expires your immigration rights are extended in any event. A visa renewal application noy even being a month old this is a total non story.
  • shame!
  • A visa renewal always takes a bit of time. Provided you make an application to extend before your visa expires your immigration rights are extended in any event. A visa renewal application noy even being a month old this is a total non story.

    I wonder if that's the advice Abramovich is following right now?

    "Don't worry, Roman, you'll be fine! They may ask you a few questions at Heathrow, but I am sure they won't throw you in jail, interrogate you, freeze all your assets and forensically examine each and every one of the transactions you've been involved with in the UK. Probably".
  • Why is this good news

    Because Abramovich is a criminal that’s why.

    Still doesn’t explain why it’s good news
  • Why is this good news

    Because Abramovich is a criminal that’s why.

    Still doesn’t explain why it’s good news
    It is funny not necessarily good or bad news.
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  • I get that it has a humour value I find it quite funny , but I don’t get why it’s something people couldn’t have dreamed of
  • Chizz said:

    A visa renewal always takes a bit of time. Provided you make an application to extend before your visa expires your immigration rights are extended in any event. A visa renewal application noy even being a month old this is a total non story.

    I wonder if that's the advice Abramovich is following right now?

    "Don't worry, Roman, you'll be fine! They may ask you a few questions at Heathrow, but I am sure they won't throw you in jail, interrogate you, freeze all your assets and forensically examine each and every one of the transactions you've been involved with in the UK. Probably".
    Well any immigration lawyer will say the same thing put in a visa renewal before your visa expires your rights extend its that simple. Its basic immigration law the technical term is 3c leave. Id suggest the reason he has not being able to travel is because he has made an out of country application and part of any visa renewal is to submit your passport to the home office. As they home office have his passport he would not be able to lawfully travel.

    Somehow I do not think ambromavich is losing any sleep over his assets being frozen, visa or no visa the UK government have frozen the assets of precisely zero Russians oligarchs this year. Quite simply its not happened and I can't see it happening any time soon.

    Taking into account current home office guidance allows for a period of 90 days to process a visa extension I repeat this is a non story.
  • I get that it has a humour value I find it quite funny , but I don’t get why it’s something people couldn’t have dreamed of

    If you are referring to my original comment, then the answer is that Abramovic shuld never have been let in, so he would not have bought Chelsea, the money coming in to the Premier League would have increased at a far more moderate and manageable rate, and you and I would have seen Charlton in Europe.
    But we didnt
  • This could be fun to watch.
  • I get that it has a humour value I find it quite funny , but I don’t get why it’s something people couldn’t have dreamed of

    If you are referring to my original comment, then the answer is that Abramovic shuld never have been let in, so he would not have bought Chelsea, the money coming in to the Premier League would have increased at a far more moderate and manageable rate, and you and I would have seen Charlton in Europe.

    Oh I thought I’d missed something major that he had done , I didn’t realise you meant all that over the footie
  • I get that it has a humour value I find it quite funny , but I don’t get why it’s something people couldn’t have dreamed of

    If you are referring to my original comment, then the answer is that Abramovic shuld never have been let in, so he would not have bought Chelsea, the money coming in to the Premier League would have increased at a far more moderate and manageable rate, and you and I would have seen Charlton in Europe.

    Oh I thought I’d missed something major that he had done , I didn’t realise you meant all that over the footie
    Oh don't worry, I am in favour of throwing them all out, and we would do the world a favour, it's just that in his case it's personal, and as you know I've got a long memory...

    As for what he has done, one of the reasons why you will not see a 'charge sheet' is that he has learnt to arm himself with the very best lawyers and media monitors, so the press is verrrry careful in what they write, as we should be.

    It is fair to say though that in a normal Western democracy, it has not been feasible to become as rich as RA became in such a short time. It is in China though, as we see when examining the current owners of Slavia Prague (although for how much longer is one of the key questions in today's Czech media)

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Roland Out!