Chelsea owner Abramovich takes Israeli citizenship — report

Roman Abramovich. (AP)
Updated 29 May 2018
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Chelsea owner Abramovich takes Israeli citizenship — report

  • His British visa expired last month
  • Relations between Moscow and London have been strained since the poisoning of former Russian double-agent

JERUSALEM: Russian billionaire Roman 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, an Israeli media report said.
Abramovich has been counted as one of the richest men in Britain since he bought the English Premier League soccer club in 2003. His British visa expired last month and sources have told Reuters it was taking longer than usual to get it renewed. The British government has declined to comment on his case.
The Ynet website that belongs to Israel’s biggest selling daily, Yedioth Aharonoth, said Abramovich, who is Jewish, jetted into Tel Aviv on Monday and had received documents confirming his status as an Israeli citizen.
An Israeli immigration absorption ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the report citing individual privacy but a spokeswoman for the Population Administration which oversees border control confirmed that Abramovich was in Israel.
A spokesman for Abramovich also declined to comment on the report.
Israel grants citizenship to any Jew wishing to move there, and a passport can be issued immediately. Israeli passport holders can enter Britain without a visa for short stays, although they require visas to work there.
Relations between Moscow and London have been strained since the poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal in Britain in March, an act Britain has blamed on Russia but in which the Kremlin denies any involvement.
Abramovich has been a regular visitor to Israel and Ynet said he had bought a property that was formerly a hotel, in an old Tel Aviv neighborhood close to the Mediterranean shore.


Italian hostage freed after 3 years in Syria returns home

Updated 28 min 42 sec ago
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Italian hostage freed after 3 years in Syria returns home

  • The man who disappeared traveled to Turkey in October 2016
  • An official said the man was kidnapped by a criminal gang

MILAN: Italy’s defense minister says an Italian who had been held hostage in Syria for three years has been released and returned to Italy.

Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta late Wednesday confirmed Alessandro Sandrini’s arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport and thanked Italian intelligence services for their role in his liberation. Details were not disclosed.

Sandrini, who is in his early 30s, disappeared after traveling to Turkey in October 2016, and wasn’t heard from for over a year. In July 2018, a dramatic video showed Sandrini wearing an orange jumpsuit flanked by masked men brandishing automatic weapons, appealing to Italy to help free him as quickly as possible.

A local government in Syria affiliated with the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Hayat Tahir-al Sham said he had been kidnapped by a criminal gang.