Roman Abramovich ‘eligible to become Israeli citizen’

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Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich arrives at Commercial Court in London January 19, 2012. Image copyright Reuters

The billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, Roman Abramovich, has been found eligible for Israeli citizenship after facing delays in renewing his UK visa.

Immigration officials told the BBC that he was interviewed last week at the Israeli embassy in Moscow.

He has flown to Tel Aviv but a spokesman would not comment on media reports citizenship had been granted.

His UK investor visa reportedly expired some weeks ago.

The British government would not comment on his individual case.

The delay in issuing him a new one comes amid increased diplomatic tensions between London and Moscow after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in southern England.

Mr Abramovich did not attend the FA cup final at Wembley earlier this month when Chelsea beat Manchester United.

Israeli media reports say he has been given an identity card in Israel under the Law of Return, which allows Jews to become citizens of Israel.

He is a frequent visitor to Israel and bought a hotel in Tel Aviv in 2015.

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