Roman Abramovich, 55, pictured in May, has been sanctioned by the UK and EU. On Tuesday The Wall Street Journal reported that an investment firm in the British Virgin Islands which is linked to him in financial disclosures has been handed over to one of his allies
Ownership of an investment company linked to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was transferred to one of the 55-year-old billionaire’s closest allies the day that Russia invaded Ukraine, according to a report.
On Tuesday, it was reported by The Wall Street Journal that Norma Investments Ltd – which has been linked to Abramovich in the past in financial filings in the U.S. and U.K. – was transferred on February 24 to a man described by Forbes as Abramovich’s ‘right hand man’.
David Davidovich, 59, is himself worth an estimated $1.6 billion (£1.2bn).
A source close to Davidovich, who was photographed walking with Abramovich in Scotland in 2015, confirmed to The Journal that he had taken control of Norma, but denied that Abramovich was the ultimate owner.
Davidovich’s investment in Norma ‘is part of his overall investments and interest in the startup sector,’ the person said.
Norma’s interests include investments in US and UK-based renewable energy firms.
It also helped fund cancer research, as well as tests on an anti-aging drug by US-based biotech firm Cleveland BioLabs Inc, according to the WSJ.
Roman Abramovich is pictured walking his dog in Scotland in 2015 with David Davidovich (far left). Davidovich, said to be Abramovich’s right hand man, has taken ownership of a company linked to the now-sanctioned Abramovich
Abramovich is pictured with Vladimir Putin in July 2016 in Sochi, Russia
Abramovich, who is now under sanctions in the U.K. and E.U. thanks to his close relationship with Vladimir Putin, had been scrambling to divest before the asset freeze hit.
He put Chelsea Football Club up for sale, and staff are said to have been ready for viewings at his 15-bedroom $195 million (£150m) mansion at Kensington Palace Gardens, and a three-storey penthouse at Chelsea Waterfront.
His super yachts are also on the move – My Solaris, worth $560 million (£430m), was moored in Barcelona a week ago but is now off the coast of Algeria; Eclipse, worth $704 million (£540m) is currently in open sea off the coast of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Abramovich himself is now believed to be in Moscow.
He cannot enter the U.K. or E.U.
He was spotted on Monday in the departure lounge of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport – he has Russian and Israeli citizenship – and is believed to have flown from Israel to Russia.
He was pictured shortly before shortly before a jet linked to him took off for Istanbul, but it was not immediately clear whether he boarded the flight
A photograph obtained by Reuters on Monday afternoon showed a grey Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club, sitting in the lounge with a face mask pulled down over his chin, about to leave Tel Aviv airport as the EU decided to follow the UK and sanction him
As sanctions increase and safe havens reduce, Roman’s planes and boats are heading for places where they cannot be seized. The oligarch was last seen in Israel but could now be in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Chukotka region governor and owner of Chelsea soccer club Roman Abramovich in Moscow at the Kremlin in 2005
The billionaire’s superyacht Solaris was seen off Tivat, Montenegro, on Sunday, but amid a seizure threat it is now motoring towards Turkey
Eclipse was last seen off Gibraltar three days ago (pictured) – now it is motoring in the Med past Libya and Tunisia
Abramovich’s jet, landing in Malta in 2020, is now in Moscow. He has more than one plane
Abramovich is worth up to £12billion and owns a £150m Kensington mansion, a £22m penthouse, and more than £1.2bn of yachts, private jets, helicopters and supercars based in Britain and around the world. He now cannot sell any of them
A new documentary by the BBC has claimed that Abramovich cheated the Russian Government out of $2.6 billion (£2bn) and was investigated for fraud by his country’s Department of Economic Crimes.
It comes as the BBC claims an investigation by its Panorama team has uncovered new evidence about corrupt deals behind Abramovich’s fortune.
In a program aired on Monday, Panorama spoke with a former Russian chief prosecutor who told them he was preparing a criminal case for the confiscation of oil company Sibneft after an investigation revealed a fraudulent scheme behind its privatization.
Abramovich paid around $250m (£190m) for the oil company before selling it back to the Russian government for $13 billion in 2005.
His lawyers told the BBC there is no basis for alleging he has amassed very substantial wealth through criminality.
But a document obtained by the BBC says that the Russian government was cheated out of $2.7 billion in the Sibneft deal – a claim supported by a 1997 Russian parliamentary investigation which looked at bringing charges of fraud by an organised crime group against Abramovich.
On Monday the EU imposed further sanctions on Abramovich, who was last week sanctioned by the UK government for his connections with Putin.
His appearance in Tel Aviv comes as Israel grapples with how to deal with the dozens of Jewish Russian oligarchs, while Western nations step up sanctions on businesspeople with ties to Putin.
Abramovich’s lawyers said there is no basis for alleging he amassed wealth through criminality
Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich, pictured, has fallen under sanctions – but he has a close connection with Israel, winning citizenship there in 2018
Roman Abramovich is selling his Kensington property in London (pictured), and a Swiss billionaire said he’s been approached about buying the Russian’s Chelsea Football Club
Football supporters arrive at Stamford bridge for the premier league match between Chelsea FC and Newcastle United as the club’s future becomes clouded after its owner was sanctioned