The Russian oligarch who owns the Chelsea football club has not yet been able to renew a visa after it expired last month. The UK has chosen not to renew the London-based Roman Abramovich's visa. Abramovich has $12.5 billion and is Britain's 13th richest man according to the Sunday Times.
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The billionaire left the UK after his investor visa expired leaving him unable to attend Chelsea's 1-0 win in the FA Cup final Saturday. Sources near the investor said he has returned to Russia. Abramovich didn't testify as he was expected to in a London court dispute between Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin, two other Russia oligarchs.
The poisoning of ex-Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter has led to growing pressure for the UK to take action against Russian oligarchs in London. Skripal and his daughter Yulia were killed by a rare nerve agent in Salisbury. An associate of Mr. Abramovich’s holding company Millhouse named David Davidovich told the court that Mr. Abramovich was in Switzerland preparing to appear in another 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 said. Another person close to Mr. Abramovich said the UK government was taking longer than normal to renew the visa and offered no explanation as to why.
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The UK Home Office declined to comment on the visa situation and security minister Ben Wallace said, "We do not routinely comment on individual cases." A Conservative MP named Bob Seely 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."
William Browder, a fund manager who campaigns for sanctions against the influx of Russian money said, "These things happen for mysterious reasons. It must be very frustrating for him not to be able to visit his beloved Chelsea." Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and has not responded to requests for comment.
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