Billionaire Abramovich denied Swiss residency

BY: bbc.com
Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich

The Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was denied Swiss residency because police warned that he could be a threat to Switzerland, reports say.

Switzerland's federal police advised officials to reject his application over suspicions he might be involved in money laundering or have contact with criminal organisations.

Mr Abramovich denies any wrongdoing.

The owner of Chelsea football club has never been indicted in Switzerland or elsewhere.

The allegations are based on unverified police suspicions which emerged after the Zurich-based publisher Tamedia obtained a letter written by police.


Mr Abramovich's lawyer has said that the billionaire has never had, or been alleged to have, connections with criminal organisations.

He fought a legal battle to try to prevent the story being published.

The Tamedia group has won that battle after several months and now its news outlets, including 24 heures, have reported that the Federal Office of Police viewed Mr Abramovich's potential presence in the country as a danger to public security and to Switzerland's reputation.

The police did not set out the basis for their claims, the reports say.

Mr Abramovich's lawyer Daniel Glasl, said he was extremely disappointed by the publication of confidential information from Swiss government files.

The legal team had filed a request for correction of facts to the police and would be filing a criminal complaint regarding dissemination of the information, he said.

"Despite multiple requests, FedPol has failed to provide any evidence supporting these defamatory allegations," he added.

The oligarch had hoped to establish his legal residence as the Swiss Alpine resort of Verbier.

Earlier this year he withdrew his application to renew his British visa after a delay apparently prevented him from travelling to the UK for Chelsea's victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

He has since taken Israeli citizenship, according to Israeli media. Israel grants all Jews who move to the state citizenship under its law of return.

Israeli passport holders can travel to the UK for a visit without a visa, but Russians cannot.