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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Roman Abramovich insists he will not ask Chelsea to repay £1.6bn loan

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Roman Abramovich has insisted his position over the sale of Chelsea is unchanged and has described claims he has asked for a £1.5bn loan to be paid back as “entirely false”.

Reports had suggested the Russian billionaire could insist on the money being paid back, which could threaten the sale of the Premier League club.

However, a spokesperson for the oligarch said in a statement posted on the Chelsea website: “Firstly, Mr Abramovich’s intentions in relation to gifting the proceeds from the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed.

“Since the initial announcement, Mr Abramovich’s team has identified senior representatives from UN bodies and large global charitable organisations who have been tasked with forming a Foundation and setting out a plan for its activities.

“The lead independent expert has had conversations with government representatives presenting the structure and initial plans.

“Mr Abramovich has not been involved in this work and it has been managed independently by experts with years of experience working in humanitarian organisations.”

“Following sanctions and other restrictions imposed on Mr Abramovich by the UK since announcing that the club would be sold, the loan has also become subject to EU sanctions, requiring additional approvals.

“That means that the funds will be frozen and subject to a legal procedure governed by authorities. These funds are still earmarked for the Foundation. The government are aware of these restrictions as well as the legal implications.

“To be clear, Mr Abramovich has no access or control of these funds and will not have any access or control of these funds following the sale.”

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on 2 March due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

And on 10 March he was sanctioned by the UK government over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Chelsea’s sale has a deadline of 31 May, when the government’s temporary licence for the Blues expires.

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