May 29, 2018 / 9:45 AM / 3 months ago

Kremlin says it is Roman Abramovich's right to take Israeli citizenship

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich had every right to take Israeli citizenship, saying his choice to acquire another passport was no big deal.

FILE PHOTO: Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich arrives at Commercial Court in London January 19, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/File Photo

Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea soccer club who has found himself without a visa to Britain, took Israeli citizenship on Monday and will move to Tel Aviv where he has bought a property, the Israeli news website Ynet said.

Abramovich, 51 has traditionally enjoyed good relations with the Kremlin and served as a regional governor in a remote Russian region from 2000-2008.

“The Kremlin doesn’t think anything about this,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked about Abramovich’s Israeli move.

“An entrepreneur has received Israeli citizenship. So what? It is his right,” said Peskov.

Abramovich is Russia’s 11th richest man with wealth of $10.8 billion, according to estimates by Forbes magazine. He made his fortune in the oil industry in the 1990s in Russia and bought Chelsea in 2003, since when he has helped transform the club into one of the most successful in the Premier League.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth/Polina Ivanova; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Alexandra Hudson

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