Roman Abramovich should no longer be allowed to own Chelsea football club, a Labor MP in parliament has said amid renewed calls for additional sanctions to be imposed on Russian businessmen with assets in the UK.
Speaking under parliamentary privilege after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said Abramovich should “no longer be able to own a football club in this country” after reading an excerpt of what he said. was a 2019 leaked document from the Home Office.
Abramovich has always vehemently denied any suggestion that he has direct ties to Putin, was contacted to comment on Mr Bryant’s allegation.
Reading directly from the document, Bryant said, “”As part of HMG’s [Her Majesty’s Government’s] A Russian strategy to target illicit finance and malicious activity, Abramovich remains of interest to HMG due to his ties to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activities and practices.”
“‘HMG is focused on ensuring that its link to illicit finance and malicious activity cannot be based in the UK and will use the relevant tools at its disposal, including immigration powers to prevent this’.
“That was almost three years ago and yet remarkably little has been done in this regard. Surely Mr. Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country? Surely we should consider grabbing some of his assets, including his £152million home? And ensuring other people who have had Tier 1 visas like this don’t engage in malicious activity?”
Abramovich, who withdrew a Tier 1 visa application in 2018 and has since become a citizen of Israel and Portugal, attended his first match at Stamford Bridge in three years in November and featured in the recent Cup win of the club world in Abu Dhabi.
Abramovich and former Arsenal majority owner Alisher Usmanov were nominated for parliament by Dame Margaret Hodge on Tuesday as Russian “kleptocrats” who are expected to face sanctions.
A new wave of sanctions is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson within the next 24 hours.