The United Kingdom Home Office has failed to renew the visa of Russian billionaire businessman, investor, and politician, Roman Abramovich, after the visa of the latter expired several weeks ago. The 13th richest man in England, who owns the English football team Chelsea, missed the FA Cup final held on Saturday at Wembley, where Chelsea triumphed 1-0 over Manchester United.
According to people close to Abramovich, his visa renewal application has not been rejected but rather delayed for unexplained reasons.
Oligarch Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003 and has been living in a mansion in West London for years, has been remaining in the UK under an investor visa. He was also scheduled to testify last week at a London court dispute between Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin, both Russian oligarchs, which he missed.
The move might deepen the strained relations between the United Kingdom and Russia, which have kept getting worse after the poisoning of the former Russian secret agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March, which Britain blames on Russia.
As a result of this spat, 23 Russian diplomats have been expelled from the UK under accusations of being undercover spies. 25 other countries, among which the US, Canada, and Germany have also expelled Russian diplomats from their countries to show their support for Britain, taking the number of Russians who were sent home to around 150.
The US had also placed Abramovich on a ‘hostile’ list of Russian oligarchs in January, which list intends to name-and-shame those who are believed to be benefiting from Putin’s tenure.
Russia has criticized the expulsion of its diplomats by the west and responded in the same way. So far 60 US diplomats and 23 Britons have been expelled from Russia.
Investor Visas of 700 Wealthy Russians to Be Reviewed
In April, the Former British Home Secretary Amber Rudd had announced that the UK authorities would review the visas of 700 wealthy Russians who reside in the UK under Tier 1 investor visas.
According to reports, around 700 hundred Russians have come to the United Kingdom between 2008 and 2015 under the Tier 1 visa. Anti-corruption campaigners have been speaking out against this type of visa for years now, claiming that it gave the opportunity to “ill-gotten riches from overseas” to come to the UK.
Even the British Prime Minister Theresa May said in late March, that there is “no place” for corrupt Russian elites – or their money – in London.