30.05.2018 Roman Abramovich May Have to Explain Source of Wealth For UK Visa

30.05.2018 Roman Abramovich May Have to Explain Source of Wealth For UK Visa

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, may have to explain how he made his fortune before the UK Home Office grants him a new UK visa.

The Russian oligarch’s previous Investor Visa, which was granted before more stringent regulations were introduced in April 2015, has expired and an application for renewal has been lodged with the Home Office, but sources close to Abramovich have said that the process is taking longer than usual. New rules require Abramovich to pass a tougher visa test, which includes proving that his wealth was obtained lawfully.

Number 10 said that whilst it would not comment on individual cases, it was a ‘logical conclusion’ that some wealthy individuals who had applied under the Investment Visa route before the changes came into place would no longer be eligible.

Responding to the reports on the delay with Abramovich’s visa, the Kremlin claimed that Russian businesses often encountered ‘unfair and unfriendly’ responses from UK Government Departments when applying to come to the UK.

But Theresa May’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that our argument is not with the Russian people, our dispute is with the Russian government.”

“Applications can be rejected if officials believe the applicant is not in control of funds, money has been obtained unlawfully, or the origin of funds means granting a visa will not be conducive to the public good.”

There has been an 84% fall in the number of investor visa applications since the reforms were introduced.

Under the new rules, Abramovich – who is reportedly worth £9.3billion – would need to show that he has at least £2 million to invest in the UK from legal sources. This should not be an issue for the oligarch, who is listed by the 2017 Sunday Times Rich List as Britain’s 13th-richest man. There has been no suggestion from the UK Government that Abramovich has been involved in any wrongdoing nor that he has earned any of his money unlawfully.

The wealth of dozens of oligarchs is being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) as part of a crackdown on illegal money after the alleged Salisbury poisoning, which has increasing tensions between Britain and Russia.