Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Roman Abramovich's vast wealth revealed for first time

He has a vast property in the UK, 22 bank accounts in Russia and drives a four-year-old Volkswagen.

The fortune of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was laid bare yesterday, leading to a welter of criticism.

The declaration was made under Russian anti-corruption laws because he is standing for re-election in the regional parliament in the province of Chukotka, where he was once governor.

It shows that most of his property is in Russia, where he has four homes, compared with two in the U.S, three in France, and one in Britain - which includes six flats and a house.

The 44-year-old is reportedly seeking to convert flats in Belgravia into a mansion valued at around £150million to share with his girlfriend, Daria ‘Dasha’ Zhukova.

There was speculation yesterday that other British properties linked to him may have been switched to ex-wife Irina, mother of five of his six children, as part of their divorce settlement.

The declaration also states Abramovich has almost £72million in 22 bank accounts, and more than £25million held in shares.

Aides stressed they hoped the move would scotch rumours that he owns other properties.

Spokesman John Mann said he hoped ‘the fact that Russian properties are listed first will encourage reporters to stop falsely reporting that his principal home is London’, and also ‘stop people reporting on properties he has never owned’.

However, the Russian blogosphere was full of negative reaction, reinforcing sentiments expressed by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that Abramovich was a symbol of his country’s ‘rich debauchery’.

Critics also noted the declaration failed to mention his ‘Roman Navy’ of ocean-going yachts or his private ‘air force’ of planes and helicopters, while it did reveal a humble VW Golf worth £7,000 among his cars.

The sums fall short of the £11billion estimate of his wealth from Finans magazine in Russia, which values his Chelsea Football Club holding at £402million.

The Moscow Times newspaper pointed out the tycoon also owns the Eclipse – the world’s longest motor yacht.

This does not appear on the list published for next month’s regional elections.
It is a far cry from Mr Abramovich’s first declaration as a Russian MP in 1998 when his only car was a modest Lada, and he reported he had no land or properties.

Chelsea recently smashed the British transfer record by paying £50million to Liverpool for striker Fernando Torres.

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