Roman Abramovich Joins Ukrainian Delegation To Help Negotiate For Peace

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Mar 01, 2022 - 02:20 AM

Update (2100ET): According to The Times, Abramovich’s move to pass control of Chelsea to the club’s charitable foundation has been put on hold,with the trustees taking legal advice on whether it is even possible.

The Times understands that at least one trustee fears that they may have to resign amid concerns around a potential conflict of interest.

The six-strong board of trustees, which includes British Olympic Association chairman Sir Hugh Robertson and anti-discrimination campaigner Piara Powar, held talks with legal advisers on Sunday and will wait for their guidance.

On Monday the Charity Commission confirmed that it has contacted the Chelsea Foundation with a request for more information, while the trustees have yet to agree to an arrangement that would pass the stewardship of the club to them.

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As we detailed earlier, while other oligarchs -  a loosely defined term to denote an individual who made their fortune during the chaotic aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse - have publicly tried to distance themselves from the Russian advance in Ukraine, Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich has placed his ownership of the club in a private trust while he moves to engage in the peace talks being held between Moscow and Kyiv.

Abramovich said he had been asked by the government in Ukraine to join the team of negotiators in Belarus, where a handful of Ukrainians are currently engaged in talks with their Russian counterparts. His role was eventually confirmed by another broker in the talks. A representative for the billionaire added that Abramovich had become involved following a request from the Jewish community in Kyiv.

"I can confirm Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution, and that he has been trying to help ever since," a spokeswoman for Abramovich said.

"Considering what is at stake, we would ask for understanding as to why we have not commented on either the situation as such or his involvement."

The Russian-Israeli billionaire is believed to have flown to Eastern Europe in the weeks leading up to the invasion. Word of Abramovich's involvement in talks was first reported by Jewish News, which said Kyiv had reached out through Jewish contacts to seek his help.

Abramovich, who is Jewish and has Israeli citizenship, was one of the most powerful businessmen who earned fabulous fortunes after the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union. Forbes has estimated his net worth at $13.3 billion. He purportedly earned a fortune during the post-Soviet collapse during the looting and general insanity.

A commodity trader who thrived in the post-Soviet disorder of the 1990s under then-President Boris Yeltsin, Abramovich acquired stakes in the Sibneft oil company, Rusal aluminium producer and Aeroflot airline were also among the businesses he acquired.

He has repeatedly denied having ties to Putin or the Kremlin, although such claims have persisted in the press.

Although under Putin he did, albeit briefly, serve as the governor of the remote Arctic region of Chukotka in Russia's Far East.

As for his decision to turn over control of Chelsea to its charitable trust, the board's trustees must still hold a vote to OK the measures, although its likely to pass. Abramovich also released a terse, 24-word statement on Sunday denouncing the invasion, becoming one  of a handful of oligarchs to party with them must have likely been fighter.