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18 Jun, 2023 13:33

Chelsea sale money hasn’t been given to Ukraine – media

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich sold the Premier League club to a US-based consortium last year
Chelsea sale money hasn’t been given to Ukraine – media

Former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is refusing to sign off on a deal which would see proceeds from his May 2022 sale of the Premier League giants being funneled towards Ukraine, according to a Saturday report in the Daily Mail.

Abramovich, who funded a trophy-laden revolution at Stamford Bridge following his initial purchase of the London-based football club in 2003, sold Chelsea to a consortium fronted by US businessman Todd Boehly last year in a deal estimated to be worth $5.4 billion.

Sections of the proceeds, thought to amount to around $3 billion, were earmarked by Abramovich to be “transferred to a charitable foundation for the needs of the victims on both sides of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” the billionaire’s press office said last year.

But a report this weekend has indicated that Abramovich has yet to sign off on the transfer of funds to Ukrainian and Russian humanitarian efforts – due to UK rules which prohibit money from being sent internationally to Moscow.

“We want to make sure that the money that is released goes exclusively to the recipients it is aimed at,” UK Secretary of State James Cleverly said last week. “I need full reassurance that is the case.” Cleverly added that he could not guarantee a solution would be found before ministers' summer holidays begin next month. They resume work in September.

Another UK government source said via the Daily Mail that “we hope money will start arriving in Ukraine before harsh winter conditions set in again towards the end of the year, but there are currently no guarantees that will happen.”

The $3 billion at the source of the row remains frozen in a UK bank account operated by Fordstram, a company with ties to Abramovich, as it awaits Foreign Office approval to be sent overseas.

The sale of Chelsea to the Boehly consortium was fast-tracked last year due to sanctions imposed on Abramovich by the UK government over his supposed ties to the Kremlin, following the launch of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.