Roman Abramovich

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Roman Abramovich
Abramovich Chukotka (cropped).jpg
Abramovich in 2007
Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich

(1966-10-24) 24 October 1966 (age 54)
Saratov, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
  • Russia
  • Israel
  • Businessman
  • politician
Known for
Olga Lysova
(m. 1987; div. 1990)

(m. 1991; div. 2007)

(m. 2008; div. 2017)
Governor of Chukotka
In office
17 December 2000 – 3 July 2008
Preceded byAleksandr Nazarov
Succeeded byRoman Kopin

Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich (Russian: Роман Аркадьевич Абрамович, pronounced [rɐˈman ɐrˈkadʲjɪvʲɪtɕ ɐbrɐˈmovʲɪtɕ]; Hebrew: רומן אברמוביץ׳‎; born 24 October 1966)[2] is a Russian-Israeli billionaire businessman and politician.

Abramovich is the primary owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC, and is best known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea F.C., a Premier League football club. He was formerly governor of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug from 2000 to 2008.

According to Forbes, Abramovich's net worth was US$12.9 billion in 2019,[3] making him the second-richest person in Israel and the eleventh-richest in Russia.[4][5] He has donated more money than any other living Russian, with donations between the years 1999 and 2013 of more than US$2.5 billion to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure in Chukotka. Abramovich has been labeled an oligarch by his critics.[6]

Personal life[edit]


Abramovich's family is Jewish.

His mother - Irina Vasilievna Abramovich (maiden name - Mikhailenko) - was a music teacher. She died when Roman was 1 year old.[7] His father - Aron (Arkady) Abramovich Leibovich (1937−1969) - worked in the economic council of the Autonomous Republic of Komi.[8]

Roman's maternal grandparents were Vasily Mikhailenko and Faina Borisovna Grutman, both born in Ukraine. It was in Saratov in the early days of World War II that Roman's grandmother on the maternal side, Faina Borisovna Grutman, fled from Ukraine. Irina was then three years old.[9]

Roman’s paternal grandparents - Nachman Leibovich and Toybe (Tatyana) Stepanovna Abramovich - were Belarusian Jews[10] with surnames of Sephardic origin.[11] They lived in Belarus and after the revolution they moved to Tauragė, Lithuania,[12][13][14] with the Lithuanian spelling of the family name being Abramavičius.

In 1940, Soviet power came to Lithuania. Just before the start of the war in the western border territories of the USSR, the sovietes “cleared the anti-Soviet, criminal and socially dangerous element”. Families were sent to Siberia. The grandparents of Abramovich were separated when deported. The father, mother and children - Leib, Abram and Aron (Arkady) - were in different cars. Many of the deportees died in the camps. Among them was the grandfather of Abramovich. Nachman Leibovich died in 1942 in the NKVD camp in the settlement of Resheti, Krasnoyarsk Territory.[15]

Having lost both parents before the age of 4,[16] Abramovich was raised by relatives and spent much of his youth in the Komi Republic in northern Russia. Abramovich is the Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, and a trustee of the Moscow Jewish Museum.[17]

Abramovich has been married and divorced three times. In December 1987, following a brief stint in the Soviet Army, he married Olga Yurevna Lysova;[18] they divorced in 1990. In October 1991, he married a former Russian Aeroflot stewardess, Irina Malandina.[19] They have five children; Ilya, Arina, Sofia, Arkadiy and Anna.[19][20] The couple divorced in 2007.[18] On 15 October 2006, the News of the World reported that Irina had hired two top UK divorce lawyers, following reports of Abramovich's close relationship with the then 25-year-old Dasha Zhukova, daughter of a prominent Russian oligarch, Alexander Zhukov. It was speculated that a future divorce settlement (amounting to a conjectured £5.5 billion (€6.5 billion)) might be the highest ever on record. The Abramoviches replied that neither had consulted attorneys at that point.[21][22] However, they later divorced in Russia in March 2007, with a reported settlement of US$300 million (€213 million).[19][23] Abramovich married Zhukova in 2008, and they have two children, a son, Aaron Alexander, and a daughter, Leah Lou.[20] In August 2017, the couple announced that they would separate;[24] and their divorce was finalised in 2018.[citation needed]

Early career[edit]

Abramovich entered the business world during his army service.[25] Abramovich first worked as a street-trader, and then as a mechanic at a local factory.[26] At the peak of perestroika, Abramovich sold imported rubber ducks from his Moscow apartment.[citation needed]

Abramovich attended the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas in Moscow,[27] then traded commodities for the Swiss trading firm Runicom.[28]

In 1988, as perestroika opened up opportunities for privatization in the Soviet Union, Abramovich got a chance to legitimise his old business.[29] He and Olga set up a company making dolls. Within a few years his wealth spread from oil conglomerates to pig farms.[30] He has traded in timber, sugar, food stuffs and other kinds of products.[31]

In 1992, he was arrested and sent to prison in a case of theft of government property.[18]

Friendship with Boris Berezovsky[edit]

According to two different sources, Abramovich first met Berezovsky either at a meeting with the Russian businessmen in 1993[32] or in the summer of 1995.[33]

Berezovsky and Abramovich registered an offshore company, Runicom Ltd., with five subsidiaries. Abramovich headed the Moscow affiliate of the Swiss firm, Runicom S.A. In August 1995, Boris Yeltsin decreed the creation of Sibneft, which Abramovich and Berezovsky were thought to be top executives of.[18]

Acquisition of Sibneft, loans-for-shares, and aluminium wars[edit]

In 1995, Abramovich and Berezovsky acquired a controlling interest in the large oil company Sibneft. The deal took place within the controversial loans-for-shares program and each partner paid US$100 million for half of the company, above the stake's stock market value of US$150 million at the time, and rapidly turned it up into billions. The fast-rising value of the company led many observers, in hindsight, to suggest that the real cost of the company should have been in the billions of dollars (it was worth US$2.7 billion at that time) [34][35] Abramovich later admitted in court that he paid billions of dollars of bribes to government officials and gangsters to acquire and protect his assets.[36]

As of 2000, Sibneft annually produced US$3 billion worth of oil.[37]

The Times claimed that he was assisted by Badri Patarkatsishvili in the acquisition of Sibneft.[38][39][40][41] After Sibneft, Abramovich's next target was the aluminium industry. After privatisation, the "aluminium wars" led to murders of smelting plant managers, metals traders and journalists as groups battled for control of the industry. Abramovich was initially hesitant to enter into the aluminium business, claiming that "every three days someone was murdered in that business".[42]

Relationship with Boris Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili[edit]

In 2011, a transcript emerged of a taped conversation that took place between Abramovich and Berezovsky at Le Bourget airport in December 2000. Badri Patarkatsishvili, a close acquaintance of Berezovsky, was also present and secretly had the conversation recorded.[43][44] During the discussion, Berezovsky spoke of how they should "legalise" their aluminium business, and later claimed in court that he was an undisclosed shareholder in the aluminium assets and that "legalisation" in this case meant to make his ownership "official". In response, Abramovich states in the transcript that they cannot legalise because the other party in the 50-50 joint venture (Rusal) would need to do the same, in a supposed reference to his business partner Oleg Deripaska. Besides Deripaska, references are made to several other players in the aluminium industry at the time that would have had to "legalise" their stake. Abramovich's lawyers later claimed that "legalisation" meant structuring protection payments to Berezovsky to ensure they complied with Western antimoney-laundering regulations.[45][46]

The Times also notes:[38]

Mr Abramovich discloses that there was a showdown at St Moritz airport in Switzerland in 2001 when Mr [Badri] Patarkatsishvili asked him to pay US$1.3 billion (€925 million) to Mr Berezovsky. "The defendant agreed to pay this amount on the basis that it would be the final request for payment by Mr Berezovsky and that he and Mr Patarkatsishvili would cease to associate themselves publicly with him and his business interests." The payment was duly made.

Mr Abramovich was also willing to pay off Mr Patarkatsishvili. He states that he agreed to pay US$585 million (€416 million) "by way of final payment".

Mr Abramovich denies that he helped himself to Mr Berezovsky's interests in Sibneft and aluminium or that he threatened a friend of the exile. "It is denied that Mr Abramovich made or was party to the alleged explicit or implicit coercive threats or intimidation," he states.

According to court-papers submitted by Abramovich,[38] Abramovich mentions in the court-papers:

Prior to the August 1995 decree [of Sibneft's creation], the defendant [Abramovich] informed Mr Berezovsky that he wished to acquire a controlling interest in Sibneft on its creation. In return for the defendant [Abramovich] agreeing to provide Mr Berezovsky with funds he required in connection with the cash flow of [his TV company] ORT, Mr Berezovsky agreed he would use his personal and political influence to support the project and assist in the passage of the necessary legislative steps leading to the creation of Sibneft. Mr Patarkatsishvili did ... provide assistance to the defendant in the defendant's acquisition of assets in the Russian aluminium industry.

Investments in technology[edit]

In 2015, Abramovich invested and led a $30 million round of funding with businessman OD Kobo Chairman of PIR Equities.[47][48] Other partners include several well-known people from the music industry, among them David Guetta, Nicki Minaj, Tiësto, Avicii,, Benny Andersson, Dave Holmes (manager of Coldplay) and others.[49]

Abramovich has invested in other startups in various fields. Among them is BrainQ, an Israeli startup which develops artificial intelligence-powered technologies to treat neurological disorders, such as stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury.[50] Also StoreDot, founded by Doron Myersdorf, where Abramovich has invested over $30 million.[51]

Relationship with Russian leaders[edit]

Boris Yeltsin[edit]

By 1996, at the age of 30, Abramovich had become close to President Boris Yeltsin, and had moved into an apartment inside the Kremlin at the invitation of the Yeltsin family.[52]

In 1999, the 33-year-old Abramovich was elected governor of the Russian province of Chukotka. He ran for a second term as governor in 2005. The Kremlin press service reported that Abramovich's name had been sent for approval as governor for another term to Chukotka's local parliament, which confirmed his appointment on 21 October 2005.

Vladimir Putin[edit]

Abramovich was the first person to originally recommend to Yeltsin that Vladimir Putin be his successor as the Russian president.[53]:135 When Putin formed his first cabinet as Prime Minister in 1999, Abramovich interviewed each of the candidates for cabinet positions before they were approved.[35]:102 Subsequently, Abramovich would remain one of Putin's closest confidants. In 2007, Putin consulted in meetings with Abramovich on the question of who should be his successor as president; Medvedev was personally recommended by Abramovich.[53]:135, 271

Chris Hutchins, a biographer of Putin, describes the relationship between the Russian president and Abramovich as like that between a father and a favourite son. Abramovich himself says that when he addresses Putin he uses the Russian language's formal "вы" (like Spanish "usted", German "Sie", Italian "lei" or French "vous"), as opposed to the informal "ты" (Spanish "tú", German "du", Italian "tu" or French "tu"). Abramovich says that the reason is 'he is more senior than me'.[54] Within the Kremlin, Abramovich is referred to as "Mr A".[55]

In September 2012, the High Court judge Elizabeth Gloster said that Abramovich's influence on Putin was limited: "There was no evidential basis supporting the contention that Mr Abramovich was in a position to manipulate, or otherwise influence, President Putin, or officers in his administration, to exercise their powers in such a way as to enable Mr Abramovich to achieve his own commercial goals."[56]

Abramovich is one of many Russian "oligarchs" named in the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA, signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2017.[57]

Political career[edit]

Duma member[edit]

In 1999, Abramovich was elected to the State Duma as the representative for the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, an impoverished region in the Russian Far East. He started the charity Pole of Hope to help the people of Chukotka, especially children, and in December 2000, was elected governor of Chukotka, replacing Alexander Nazarov.


Abramovich was the governor of Chukotka from 2000 to 2008. It is believed that he invested over US$1.3 billion (€925 million) in the region.[58] Under Abramovich, living standards improved, schools and housing were restored and new investors were being drawn to the region.[59]

Abramovich was awarded the Order of Honour for his "huge contribution to the economic development of the autonomous district [of Chukotka]", by a decree signed by the President of Russia.[60]


In early July 2008, it was announced that President Dmitri Medvedev had accepted Abramovich's request to resign as governor of Chukotka, although his various charitable activities in the region would continue. In the period 2000–2006 the average salaries in Chukotka increased from about US$165 (€117/£100) per month in 2000 to US$826 (€588/£500) per month in 2006.[18][61]


Boris Berezovsky allegations[edit]

In 2011, Berezovsky brought a civil case against Abramovich, called Berezovsky v Abramovich,[62] in the High Court of Justice in London, accusing Abramovich of blackmail, breach of trust and breach of contract, and seeking over £3 billion in damages.[63]

On 31 August 2012, the High Court dismissed the lawsuit. The High Court judge stated that because of the nature of the evidence, the case hinged on whether to believe Berezovsky or Abramovich's evidence. The judge found Berezovsky to be "an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be moulded to suit his current purposes", whereas Abramovich was seen as "a truthful, and on the whole, reliable witness".[63][64]


In 2008, The Times reported that court papers showed Abramovich admitting that he paid billions of dollars for political favours and protection fees for shares of Russia's oil and aluminium assets.[65]

Allegations of loan fraud[edit]

An allegation emerging from a Swiss investigation links Roman Abramovich, through a former company, and numerous other Russian politicians, industrialists and bankers to using a US$4.8 billion (€3.4 billion) loan from the IMF as personal slush fund; an audit sponsored by the IMF itself determined that all of the IMF funds had been used appropriately.[66]

In January 2005, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) indicated that it would be suing Abramovich over a £9 million (US$14.9 million/€10.6 million) loan.[67] The EBRD said that it is owed US$17.5 million (€12.45 million/£10.6 million) by Runicom, a Switzerland-based oil trading business which had been controlled by Abramovich and Eugene Shvidler. Abramovich's spokesman indicated that the loan had previously been repaid.[68]

Antitrust law violation in Russia[edit]

Russia's antitrust body, the Federal Antimonopoly Service, claimed that Evraz Holding, owned in part by Abramovich, had breached Russian competition law by offering unfavourable terms for contractors and discriminating against domestic consumers for coking coal, a key material used in steel production.[69]

Dispute with Kolomoyskyi[edit]

According to Putin, Abramovich has been cheated by Ukrainian-Cypriot-Israeli oligarch Igor Kolomoyskyi. Putin claimed in 2014 that Kolomoyskyi had reneged on a contract with Abramovich, saying that the pair signed a multibillion-dollar deal on which Kolomoyskyi never delivered.[70]

Funding of Jewish settlements in Israel[edit]

An investigation by BBC News Arabic into the FinCEN Files in September 2020 found Abramovich-controlled companies have donated $100m to the Ir David Foundation (known as Elad), an Israeli organization that supports Jewish settlements in Silwan.[71][72] Due to Israel's ongoing occupation of the West Bank, the settlements are generally considered to be a breach of international law, a view which Israel disputes.[73][74][75]

European football[edit]

Chelsea F.C.[edit]

In June 2003, Abramovich became the owner of the companies that control Chelsea Football Club in West London. The previous owner of the club was Ken Bates, who went on to buy rivals Leeds United. Chelsea immediately embarked on an ambitious programme of commercial development, with the aim of making it a worldwide brand on a par with footballing dynasties such as Manchester United and Real Madrid, and also announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art training complex in Cobham, Surrey.[76]

Since the takeover, the club has won 17 major trophies – the UEFA Champions League twice, the UEFA Europa League twice, the Premier League five times, the FA Cup five times (with 2010 providing the club's first ever league and FA Cup double), and the League Cup three times, making Chelsea the most successful English trophy winning team during his ownership, equal with Manchester United (who have also won 17 major trophies in the same time span). His tenure has also been marked by rapid turnover in managers, who can be fired if they do not bring immediate success and maintain it.

Detractors has used the term "Chelski" semi-affectionately to refer to the new Chelsea under Abramovich, to highlight the modern phenomena of billionaires buying football clubs and "purchasing trophies", by using their personal wealth to snap up marquee players at will, distorting the transfer market, citing the acquisition of Andriy Shevchenko for a then-British record transfer fee of around £30 million (€35.3 million)[77]

In the year ending June 2005, Chelsea posted record losses of £140 million (€165 million) and the club was not expected to record a trading profit before 2010, although this decreased to reported losses of £80.2 million (€94.3 million) in the year ending June 2006.[78] In a December 2006 interview, Abramovich stated that he expected Chelsea's transfer spending to fall in years to come.[79]

UEFA responded to the precarious profit/loss landscape of clubs, some owned by billionaires, but others simply financial juggernauts like Real Madrid, with Financial Fair Play regulations.

Chelsea finished their first season after the takeover in second place in the Premier League, up from fourth the previous year. They also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, which was eventually won by surprise contender Porto, managed by José Mourinho. For Abramovich's second season at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho was recruited as the new manager, replacing the incumbent Claudio Ranieri. Chelsea ended the 2004–05 season as league champions for the first time in 50 years and only the second time in their history.

Abramovich at Stamford Bridge during a 4–0 victory over Portsmouth in August 2008

Abramovich is present at nearly every Chelsea game and shows visible emotion during matches, a sign taken by supporters to indicate a genuine love for the sport, and usually visits the players in the dressing room following each match. This stopped for a time in early 2007, when press reports appeared of a feud between Abramovich and manager Mourinho regarding the performance of certain players, notably Andriy Shevchenko.[80]

Abramovich watches his team Chelsea play against Leicester City, August 2014

On 1 July 2013, Chelsea celebrated ten years under Abramovich's ownership. Before the first game of the 2013–14 season against Hull City on 18 August 2013, the Russian thanked Chelsea supporters for ten years of support in a short message on the front cover of the match programme, saying, "We have had a great decade together and the club could not have achieved it all without you. Thanks for your support and here's to many more years of success."

In March 2017, Chelsea announced it had received approval to for a revamped £500m stadium at Stamford Bridge with a capacity of up to 60,000.[81]

On 15 July 2018 the renewal of Abramovich's British visa by the Home Office, and his subsequent withdrawal of the application, in May 2018 Chelsea halted plans to build a £500m stadium in south-west London due to the "unfavourable investment climate" and the lack of assurances about Abramovich's immigration status. Abramovich was set to invest hundreds of millions of pounds for the construction of the stadium.[82][83]

Abramovich has been accused of purchasing Chelsea at the behest of Vladimir Putin, but he denies this.[84][85][86][87]

In 2021 Abramovich was criticized for trying to enter Chelsea into unpopular European Super League. The competition has been widely scrutinized for encouraging greediness among the richer, larger football clubs, which undermines the significance of existing football competitions, however, just 2 days later, Abramovich decided to pull the club out of the new competition, with other English clubs following suit.[citation needed][88]

On 8 June 2021 Anti Defamation League's report "Antisemitism in European soccer on the rise" said that "The experience of Jewish Chelsea FC owner, Roman Abramovich, over the past three weeks highlights the phenomenon. He has been repeatedly targeted on Twitter with crude antisemitic abuse, with tweets reading:

- “Roman Abramovich is Jew, stop supporting Chelsea”

- “Jews really run the world. I was surprised to learn that Roman Abramovich is one.”

- “@premierleague Keep matchfixing for the jew Abramovich”

- “[Chelsea head coach Thomas] Tuchel is not getting backed in the summer. He’s German and Abramovich is a Russian Jew.”

- “Guarantee you [Chelsea player Timo] Werner would be on 30 goals this season if he didn't know that Roman Abramovich was Jewish”

According to ADL, "Abramovich has owned Chelsea FC for 18 years. Chelsea FC has been a leading voice in European soccer against antisemitism, having run major education programs both for their fans and for a network of schools that Chelsea FC has adopted to promote its anti-racism agenda."[89]

Roman Abramovich who is himself a victim of online anti-Semitism, has made combating antisemitism and bigotry in sports and elsewhere a focus of his ownership. In July 2021, Chelsea FC and the Anti-Defamation League have joined in a partnership to combat bigotry. The team and the ADL already work together on “No Place for Hate,” an anti-bigotry curriculum for school-aged children.

In the statement announcing the partnership, Bruce Buck, the Chelsea FC chairman, alluded to online antisemitic attacks on Abramovich and racist attacks on players. Chelsea’s foundation will fund the expansion of the ADL’s Center on Extremism — which feeds information on extremist activity to law enforcement — and the ADL’s work with a British group tracking extremism, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Also funded will be BINAH Europe, a resource for non-Jewish students to learn about antisemitism and Jewish identity.[90]

The Blues owner has often been described as a Russian billionaire after his takeover of the club in 2003. However, in recent years, after he became a citizen of Israel and launched the Say No to Antisemitism campaign through Chelsea, the fact he is Jewish has come into focus. He was subjected to unprecedented social media abuse totalling almost 3,000 messages in May 2021, coinciding with anti-Semitism and racism in the UK amid conflict in the Middle East.[91]

Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett hailed Chelsea's stance on fighting anti-Semitism, pledging the anti-discrimination organisation will now look to follow the Blues' lead. "Historically it's been alleged that Kick It Out was formed to fight racism against black players and coaches. We looked at our strategy and realised we weren't doing enough on anti-Semitism and we brought together a group of stakeholders with vast experience in this area."[92]

CSKA Moscow[edit]

In March 2004, Sibneft agreed to a three-year sponsorship deal worth €41.3 million (US$58 million) with the Russian team CSKA Moscow.[93] Although the company explained that the decision was made at management level, some viewed the deal as an attempt by Abramovich to counter accusations of being "unpatriotic" which were made at the time of the Chelsea purchase. UEFA rules prevent one person owning more than one team participating in UEFA competitions, so Abramovich has no equity interest in CSKA. A lawyer, Alexandre Garese, is one of his partners in CSKA.

Following an investigation, Abramovich was cleared by UEFA of having a conflict of interest.[94] Nevertheless, he was named "most influential person in Russian football" in the Russian magazine Pro Sport at the end of June 2004. In May 2005, CSKA won the UEFA Cup, becoming the first Russian club ever to win a major European football competition. In October 2005, however, Abramovich sold his interest in Sibneft and the company's new owner Gazprom, which sponsors Zenit Saint Petersburg, cancelled the sponsorship deal.[95]

Russian national team[edit]

Abramovich at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany

Abramovich also played a large role in bringing Guus Hiddink to Russia to coach the Russia national football team.[96] Piet de Visser, a former head scout of Hiddink's club PSV Eindhoven and now a personal assistant to Abramovich at Chelsea, recommended Hiddink to the Chelsea owner.[97]

National Academy of Football[edit]

In addition to his involvement in professional football, Abramovich sponsors a foundation in Russia called the National Academy of Football. The organization sponsors youth sports programs throughout the country and has constructed more than fifty football pitches in various cities and towns. It also funds training programs for coaches, prints instruction materials, renovates sports facilities and takes top coaches and students on trips to visit professional football clubs in England, the Netherlands and Spain. In 2006 the Academy of Football took over the administration of the Konoplyov football academy at Primorsky, near Togliatti, Samara Oblast, where over 1,000 youths are in residence, following the death at 38 of its founder, Yuri Konoplev.[98]


According to Forbes, as of March 2016, Abramovich had a net worth of US$7.6 billion, ranking him as the 155th richest person in the world.[99] Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, he was considered to be the second richest person living within the United Kingdom.[100] Early in 2009, The Times estimated that due to the global economic crisis he had lost £3 billion from his £11.7 billion wealth.[101] On 5 March 2021, Forbes listed his net worth at US$14.5 billion, ranking him 113 on the Billionaires 2020 Forbes list.[102]

Wealth rankings[edit]

Year The Sunday Times
Rich List
The World's Billionaires
Rank Net worth (GB£) Rank Net worth (US$)
2010[103] 2 Steady £7.40 billion Increase

50 Increase

$12 billion Increase
2011[104][103] 3 Decrease £10.30 billion Increase 53 Decrease $13.4 billion Increase
2012[105][106] 3 Steady £9.50 billion Decrease 68 Decrease $12.1 billion Decrease
2013[107][108] 5 Decrease £9.30 billion Decrease 107 Decrease $10.3 billion Decrease
2014[109] 9 Decrease £8.42 billion Decrease 137 Decrease $9.10 billion Decrease
2015[110][111] 10 Decrease £7.29 billion Decrease 137 Steady $9.10 billion Steady
2016[112][99] 13 Decrease £6.40 billion Decrease 151 Decrease $7.60 billion Decrease
2017[113][114] 13 Steady £8.053 billion Increase 139 Increase $11.50 billion Increase
2018[115][116] 13 Steady £9.333 billion Increase 140 Decrease $11.70 billion Increase
2019[117][118] 9 Increase £11.221 billion Increase 107 Increase $12.40 billion Increase
2020[119][120] 12 Decrease £10.156 billion Decrease 113 Decrease $11.30 billion Decrease
2021[121][102] 8 Increase £12.101 billion Increase 142 Decrease $14.50 billion Increase
Icon Description
Steady Has not changed from the previous year
Increase Has increased from the previous year
Decrease Has decreased from the previous year

Charitable donations[edit]

Abramovich has reportedly donated more money to charity than any other living Russian.[6] Between 2009 and 2013, Abramovich donated more than US$2.5 billion to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure in Chukotka. In addition, Evraz Plc (EVR), the steelmaker partly owned by Abramovich, donated US$164 million for social projects between 2010 through 2012, an amount that is excluded in Abramovich's US$310 million donations during this period.[6]

Abramovich has reportedly spent approximately GB£1.5 bn on the Pole of Hope, his charity set up to help those in the Arctic region of Chukotka, where he was governor.[122] In June 2019, Abramovich donated $5 million to the Jewish Agency for Israel, to support efforts to combat anti-Semitism globally.[123]

Roman Abramovich donates money to the Chabad movement[124] and along with Michael Kadoorie and Jacob Safra, is one of the main benefactors of the Portuguese Jewish community and of B’nai B’rith International Portugal.[125]

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich funds an extended programme in Israel that brings Jewish and Arab children together in football coaching sessions. More than 1,000 Arab and Jewish children each year will be brought together through football, with Chelsea funding the expanded set-up and club staff training local coaches. The expanded Playing Fair, Leading Peace programme will break down barriers and combat discrimination by mixing communities in Israel.[126]

In 2020 during the pandemic Roman Abramovich paid for NHS staff to stay at the Stamford Bridge Millennium Hotel.[127]

Other interests and activities[edit]


Statue of Abramovich in a mall in Eilat, Israel

Abramovich sponsored an exhibition of photographs of Uzbekistan by renowned Soviet photographer Max Penson (1893–1959) which opened on 29 November 2006 at the Gilbert Collection at Somerset House in London. He previously funded the exhibition "Quiet Resistance: Russian Pictorial Photography 1900s–1930s" at the same gallery in 2005.[128] Both exhibits were organized by the Moscow House of Photography.[129]

In May 2008, Abramovich emerged as a major buyer in the international art auction market. He purchased Francis Bacon's Triptych 1976 for €61.4 million (US$86.3 million) (a record price for a post-war work of art) and Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Sleeping for €23.9 million (US$33.6 million) (a record price for a work by a living artist).[130]

His partner Dasha Zhukova is managing a Garage Center for Contemporary Culture - gallery of contemporary art in Moscow that was initially housed in the historical Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage building by Konstantin Melnikov. The building, neglected for decades and partially taken apart by previous tenants, was restored in 2007–2008 and reopened to the public in September 2008. Speed and expense of restoration is credited to sponsorship by Abramovich.[131]


Abramovich has become the world's greatest spender on luxury yachts, and always maintains a fleet of yachts which the media have called "Abramovich's Navy":[132]

Current boats:

  • Eclipse 162.5 metres (533 ft) – Built in Germany by Blohm + Voss, she was launched in September 2009.[133] Abramovich was due to take delivery of the yacht in December 2009,[134] but was delayed for almost a year after extensive sea trials. The yacht's interior and exterior were designed by Terence Disdale. Eclipse is believed to have cost Abramovich around US$400 million and was the world's largest privately owned yacht until it was eclipsed in 2013 by the 180 metres (590 ft) Azzam. The specification includes at least two swimming pools, a cinema, two helicopter landing-pads, several on-board tenders and a submarine that can be launched and dive to a depth of 160 ft. It is also equipped with armour plating surrounding the bridge and Abramovich's master suite, as well as bullet proof windows.[135]
The world's second largest expedition yacht, Luna, seen docked in San Diego, January 2013. Sold to Farkhad Akhmedov in April 2014 for US$360 million.

Former boats:

  • Pelorus 115 metres (377 ft) – Built by Lurssen for Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh in 2003, original owner of M/Y Coral Island and M/Y Sussurro, who received six offers to sell her before she was even completed. The Sheikh accepted the highest bid which was Abramovich. The interior was designed by Terence Disdale. The exterior was designed by Tim Heywood. Pelorus was refitted by Blohm + Voss in 2005 adding a new forward helipad and zero speed stabilizers. Given to Irina in 2009 as part of the divorce settlement; she was approached on David Geffen's behalf by broker Merle Wood, with Geffen paying US$300 million to take ownership in 2011.[136]
  • Sussurro 49.5 metres (162 ft) – Built by Feadship in 1998 for Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh.
  • Ecstasea 85 metres (279 ft) – Largest Feadship built at launch in 2004 for Abramovich. She has a gas turbine alongside the conventional diesels which gives her high cruising speed. Abramovich sold the boat to the Al Nayhan family in 2009.[137]
  • Le Grand Bleu 112 metres (367 ft) – Formerly owned by John McCaw; Abramovich bought the expedition yacht in 2003 and had her completely refitted by Blohm + Voss, including a 16 ft (4.9 m) swim platform and sports dock. He presented her as a gift to his associate and friend Eugene Shvidler in June 2006.
  • Luna 115 metres (377 ft) – Built by Lloyd Werft and delivered to Roman Abramovich in 2009 as an upgraded replacement for his Le Grand Bleu expedition yacht.[138] Sold to close friend, Azerbaijani-born billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, in April 2014 for US$360m. Boasts a 1 million litre fuel tank, 7 engines outputting 15,000 hp propelling Luna to a maximum speed of 25 knots, 8 tenders, 15 cm ice-class steel hull and 10 VIP Cabins.


Abramovich's Boeing 767, The Bandit, landing at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel

Abramovich owns a private Boeing 767-33A/ER, registered in Aruba as P4-MES. It is known as The Bandit[139] due to its livery. Originally the aircraft was ordered by Hawaiian Airlines but the order was cancelled and Abramovich bought it from Boeing and refitted it to his own requirements by Andrew Winch, who designed the interior and exterior. The aircraft was estimated in 2016 to cost US$300 million and its interior is reported to include a 30-seat dining room, a boardroom, master bedrooms, luxury bathrooms with showers, and a spacious living room. The aircraft has the same air missile avoidance system as Air Force One.[139]

St. Barth New Year's Eve celebrations[edit]

In 2011, Abramovich hired the Red Hot Chili Peppers to perform at his estate in Baie de Gouverneur in St. Barth for a reported £5m.[140] The performance by Red Hot Chili Peppers included a special appearance from Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals.[140] Abramovich reportedly spent £5 million on a total of 300 guests,[140] including George Lucas, Martha Stewart, Marc Jacobs and Jimmy Buffett.[citation needed] In 2014, Abramovich hired British singer Robbie Williams to headline a New Year's dinner for President Putin's "inner circle". The party took place in Moscow and appears to have been the inspiration for Williams' song "Party Like a Russian".[141] On December 31st, 2015, singer Prince played a New Year's Eve party on Abramovich's boat. Upon his arrival by helicopter, Prince tweeted: STRICTLY BUSINESS.

Israeli citizenship[edit]

In May 2018, Abramovich became an Israeli citizen a month after the UK delayed renewing his visa. Following the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, British authorities delayed the renewal of his visa, as tensions rose between the UK and Russia.[142] Abramovich had been travelling in and out of the UK for years on a Tier-1 investor visa, designed for wealthy foreigners who invest at least £2 million in Britain. Abramovich, who is Russian Jewish, exercised his right under Israel's Law of Return, which states that Jews from anywhere in the world can become citizens of Israel. As an Israeli, Abramovich can now visit Britain visa-free but not permitted to work or conduct business transactions.[143][144]

Abramovich owns the Varsano boutique hotel in Tel Aviv's Neve Tzedek neighborhood, which he bought for 100 million NIS in 2015 from Gal Gadot's husband Yaron Varsano and Varsano's brother Guy.[145] In January 2020, Abramovich purchased a property in Herzliya Pituah for a record 226 million NIS.[146]

Abramovich has also invested in more than a dozen Israeli startups including rapid-battery charger technology developer Storedot.[145] In 2018, he donated 70 million NIS for the Sheba Hospital in Tel HaShomer, for nuclear medicine research.[147]

Attempted residency in Switzerland[edit]

In 2016, Abramovich applied for residency in Switzerland, intending to move to the ski resort of Verbier. Swiss authorities denied the application after the Swiss Federal Office of Police concluded that Abramovich was under "suspicion of money laundering and presumed contacts with criminal organisations", and that his assets were "at least partially of illegal origin". Abramovich unsuccessfully took legal action to prevent Swiss media from reporting on the matter, and denied the allegations.[148][149]

Megamansion in New York City[edit]

Abramovich purchased for $74 million and is combining four Upper East Side townhouses in Manhattan in New York City into a megamansion; 9, 11, 13, and 15 East 75th Street.[150] The combined megamansion will be 19,400 square feet, and it is estimated that renovation costs will be an additional $100 million.[150]

See also[edit]


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  • Midgley, Dominic; Hutchins, Chris (3 May 2005). Abramovich: The Billionaire from Nowhere. Harper Collins Willow. ISBN 978-0-00-718984-7.
  • Hoffman, David (4 December 2003). The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia. Public Affairs. ISBN 978-1-58648-202-2.
  • Bennetts, Marc (15 May 2008). Football Dynamo – Modern Russia and the People's Game. Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-7535-1319-4.
  • Stenning, Paul (31 October 2010). Waste of Money: Overspending in Football. Pitch Publishing. ISBN 978-1905411931.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Aleksandr Nazarov
Governor of Chukotka
2000 – 3 July 2008
Succeeded by
Roman Kopin