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Chelsea Owner Abramovich Becomes Israeli Citizen Amid UK Visa Wrangle

Russian Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich arrived in Israel on Monday after receiving citizenship of the Jewish state, local Channel 10 television reported.

The Israeli news site Ynet also reported that Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club, landed in his private aircraft at (Tel Aviv’s) Ben Gurion airport and was presented with an Israeli identity card.

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An official at Nativ, a department of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office dealing with Jewish communities in the ex-Soviet Union, said Abramovich had applied for an immigration visa at Israel’s embassy in Moscow.

“His documents were examined under the ‘Law of Return’ and he was indeed entitled to immigrant status in Israel, and as a result he was issued an immigration visa,” the official added.

Israel’s law of return gives every Jew, or child or grandchild of a Jew, the right to Israeli citizenship.

Amid a spiralling diplomatic crisis between London and Moscow over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent, there have been calls in Britain for sanctions that would hurt super-rich Russians with homes in London.

Abramovich formally has residency in Jersey in the Channel Islands, a tax haven, but has never taken it up.

The Sunday Times put his wealth at 9.3 billion pounds ($12.5 billion) on its Rich List this year. He has owned Chelsea since 2003.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister, Theresa May’s spokesperson has said Abramovich can enter Britain on a visitor visa after gaining Israeli citizenship.

The Chelsea FC owner “can come as a visitor for six months but will need a visa to live, work or study in the UK,” the spokesperson added.

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