ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The billionaire owner of one of Britain’s largest football clubs has been granted Israeli citizenship following a delay in the renewal of his visa to the United Kingdom, according to media reports on Monday.
Roman Abramovich, the owner of English Premier League giants Chelsea Football Club, is “eligible” to receive Israeli citizenship, a spokesperson for the Israeli Interior Ministry was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
“He filed a request to receive an immigration permit, his documents were checked according to the Law of Return, and he was indeed found eligible,” the spokesperson stated.
According to The Telegraph, Abramovich’s private jet arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on Monday where he was “immediately granted citizenship.”
The report added that the Chelsea owner, who is Jewish, exercised his right under Israel’s Law of Return which states that Jews from anywhere in the world can become Israeli citizens.
Immigration officials told the BBC that the 51-year-old Russian oligarch had been interviewed last week at the Israeli embassy in Moscow.
Israeli passport holders are allowed to enter the UK without registering for a visa for short stays, but they require one if they wish to work there.
Abramovich, who holds a tier one UK visa, has experienced delays in the renewal of his documents since the British government’s crackdown on wealthy Russian investors coming into the country.
Although the Russian oligarch reportedly has close ties with President Vladimir Putin, there is no suggestion that he has been involved in any wrongdoing.
Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and has invested millions of dollars into the club which has grown into one of Britain’s most successful teams.