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Roman Abramovich

Chelsea FC Owner, Abramovich to be denied entry into UK despite acquiring Israeli citizenship

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It is no news that Chelsea Football Club owner and Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich is currently banned from the United Kingdom following his close ties to Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.

To overcome the ban, Abramovich, who is also a Jew is said to have secured Israeli citizenship. Israelis do not need a visa to visit the UK, but investigations have revealed that Israeli citizenship won’t guarantee him a backdoor route into UK

According to report by The Sun, Government sources have revealed that the oligarch still faces a separate banning order to stop him coming into the country

Ordinarily, the Jewish billionaire Chelsea FC owner’s new nationality would have allowed him access to the UK without a visa.

He is currently banned after a delay in renewing his investor visa amid a row over close links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

But senior government sources revealed last night that the oligarch still faces a separate banning order to stop him coming into the country.

Border chiefs have a range of powers they can deploy to override visa waiver schemes.

Roman Abramovich

The senior source said: “Having an Israeli passport is not a backdoor at all.

“There are a whole range of powers that can be used to stop Abramovich from coming in.

“He could be deemed not conducive to the public good, it could be decided that he is coming in for different reasons than he has stated or there could be concern about previous immigration offences. He will find out that it’s not that easy.”

But it can also be revealed that Home Office bosses do fear 51-year-old Abramovich “buying” an EU passport from Russia-friendly states such as Cyprus and Malta.

It is very difficult to exclude anyone with EU citizenship from coming into the UK.

The source added: “If Abramovich bought an EU passport from somewhere like Cyprus, it would be very difficult to keep him out.

“It would then be up to the EU to explain what they have done.”

Downing Street also said that Israel’s visa waiver scheme would not give anyone the long-term right to work in the UK.

The scheme only gives the likes of Abramovich half a year maximum here for leisure or business trips.

A No:10 spokesman said: “Those with Israeli passports are non-visa nationals, which means they do not need a visa to come to the UK as a visitor for a maximum period of six months.

“Israelis are required to obtain a visa if they want to live, work or study in the UK.”

In a significantly tightening of the rules since the Salisbury nerve agent attack, it is believed the Home Office have demanded Mr Abramovich spell out precisely how he came about his £9bn fortune before his visa is renewed.

The bureaucratic questions will take many months, in a retaliatory move designed to heap pressure on Mr Putin.

Boris Johnson revealed the Government’s thinking during a hoax call with pranksters pretending to be the Armenian PM last week.

The Foreign Secretary said: “I think it is very important for the Russians to know that the UK is absolutely determined to stand firm against them and we will continue to tighten the squeeze on some of the oligarchs that surround Putin.”

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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