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Russian Oligarch Abramovich Becomes Israeli Citizen

Roman Abramovich

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the owner of Britain’s Chelsea soccer team, has become an Israeli citizen, just a month after Britain delayed the renewal of his British visa in the midst of diplomatic tensions between London and Moscow.

Abramovich, who is Jewish, was able to exercise his right under Israel’s Law of Return to obtain Israeli citizenship. That law states that Jews from anywhere in the world can become Israeli citizens.

With an estimated worth of about $11.5 billion, Abramovich became Israel’s wealthiest person when he received his citizenship on May 28 after arriving at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport in a private jet.

Israel’s Interior Ministry said Abramovich applied at the Israeli Embassy in Moscow and was found eligible for citizenship after proving his Jewish heritage.

Britain has said it would take a tougher approach on Russian oligarchs in the country after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March.

The British government has accused Russia of carrying out the attack, which Moscow denies.

It was not immediately clear if there was a direct link between Britain’s harder line on Russian oligarchs and Abramovich’s visa delay.

Abramovich owns a $23 million mansion in Tel Aviv.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and The Telegraph