Russian billionaire and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has become an Israeli citizen and is planning to move to Tel Aviv where he’s bought a property, Israeli media has reported.
Abramovich had reportedly been facing difficulties renewing his UK visa amid deteriorating relations between Russia and Britain. The government has declined to comment on the case.
The Russian business tycoon, who bought the English Premier League club in 2003, was granted citizenship after his documents were confirmed by Israeli authorities.
Israel grants citizenship to any Jewish person wishing to live there, and a passport can be issued immediately.
Unlike Russian passport-holders, Israeli citizens can enter the UK without a visa for short stays, although they require visas to work here.
According to Israeli media, Abramovich has been a regular visitor to Israel, and has bought a property in Tel Aviv close to the Mediterranean coast.
Long listed as one of the wealthiest people in the UK, Abramovich’s £8.6bn fortune would make him the richest man in Israel.
The news comes as relations between the UK and Russia have become increasingly strained since the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, for which the government has blamed Russian authorities.