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UK lawmakers criticize failure to utilize funds from Russian oligarch Abramovich’s sale of Chelsea FC to help Ukraine

UK lawmakers criticize failure to utilize funds from Russian oligarch Abramovich's sale of Chelsea FC to help Ukraine

Lawmakers in the UK are criticizing failure to use funds from Roman Abramovich’s sale of Chelsea FC to support  Ukraine

The U.K.’s House of Lords released a report on Jan. 31 criticizing the government’s failure to allocate frozen funds from Russian magnate Roman Abramovich’s sale of Chelsea football club (FC) for Ukrainian aid.

Abramovich, with an estimated net worth of about $9 billion, holds Russian, Israeli, and Portuguese citizenship. He previously governed the Chukotka region in Russia’s far east and formerly owned Chelsea FC, which he sold following the onset of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich’s fund remain frozen in UK bank

The sale of Chelsea FC generated 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion), pledged by Abramovich for donation to Ukraine.

Nearly 20 months later, the funds remain held in a U.K. bank account without allocation for Ukrainian aid. The delay seems to stem from a disagreement between the U.K. government and Abramovich regarding the fund’s distribution.

Read more: EU and member states budget €21 billion of aid for Ukraine in 2024

The report criticized both Abramovich and the government for their lack of a more binding commitment. It called on the government to employ all legal means to swiftly resolve the deadlock, enabling Ukraine to receive the long-awaited relief.

Abramovich, along with other prominent Russian oligarchs, faced sanctions following the onset of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

He contested the decision in the EU court in Brussels, asserting his lack of influence over Kremlin decisions and the absence of ties between his business ventures and the conflict.

Abramovich’s bid to be removed from the sanctions list was rejected in December 2023.

Following the invasion, Abramovich engaged in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Reports claimed he visited Kyiv during negotiations in April 2022, a claim his spokesperson refuted.

Later that year, Abramovich met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to facilitate a prisoner exchange.

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