Finance

What was Roman Abramovich doing on day of Russia’s Ukraine invasion? Sensational ‘Chelsea’ twist puts billionaire in spot


Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale following the invasion of Ukraine before the UK government imposed sanctions on him, effectively handing it control of the club.

Roman Abramovich transferred a company to a director of Chelsea, the Premier League club he owns, on the day of Russia’s Ukraine invasion, Reuters reported. This was the second time that the businessman moved assets to an associate before the UK and the EU slapped sanctions on him for his alleged links to Russia President Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale following the invasion of Ukraine before the UK government imposed sanctions on him, effectively handing it control of the club. The government froze his assets and barred him travelling to the country. While the government granted Chelsea a special licence to keep playing due to its status as a “significant cultural asset”, Abramovich will not be able to make any profits from the club. Chelsea are also not allowed to sell matchday tickets, sign any new contracts, thus preventing it from recruiting players during the summer transfer market.

Since then, several interested parties have expressed a willingness to buy the club. According to a Reuters report, three official bids for the club have been submitted by the Friday deadline.

Also Read | Chelsea blues: Five first-teamers to leave, sponsor axes deal as UK sanctions hit Roman Abramovich

The Raine Group, the US bank overseeing the sale process since before the sanctions were imposed, has received a bid worth £2 billion from a consortium of South Korean companies C&P Sports and Hana Financial Group and British businessman and Chelsea fan Nick Candy. The consortium also includes investors from Silicon Valley and tech billionaires with shareholdings in US sports teams.

The Ricketts family, owners of the US baseball franchise the Chicago Cubs, have also bid for Chelsea, in conjunction with Ken Griffin, the founder of Citadel. Martin Broughton, the former chairman of British Airways, World Athletics President and UK MP Lord Sebastian Coe have also submitted a joint offer.

Also Read | Russia-Ukraine War: Chelsea sale on hold after UK slaps sanctions on owner Roman Abramovich

The Raine Group is expected to confirm further bidders in the next few days. Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss, in conjunction with LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, Conservative Party peer Daniel Finkelstein, and British businessman Jonathan Goldstein, has also made a bid for Chelsea, reports said.


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