The owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich, could be asked to explain where his wealth came from, in order to secure a new UK visa.
It was recently revealed that the Russian businessman’s investor visa had expired and he was in the middle of applying for a new one. But because of stricter regulations introduced in 2015, along with a Government crackdown on wealthy foreign investors in the wake of the recent Salisbury poisoning, Mr Abramovich may now be called on to explain the source of his considerable wealth.
It has been confirmed by Downing Street that it is currently looking at individuals living in the UK that hold tier 1 visas. This visa allows investors who put more than £2 million into the UK economy to stay for 40 months.
Mr Abramovich will be expected to apply for his new tier 1 visa from outside of the UK.
Under the new rules, officials can reject an application if it is believed that the applicant is not in control of the funds to be invested, the money has been obtained through illicit means, or the money’s origin means a visa “will not be conducive to the public good”.
This new regime has seen an 84 per cent decrease in the number of tier 1 visas applied for.
It has been reported that Mr Abramovich’s visa expired while he was out of the country and he has not tried to return since, despite his team’s victory in the FA Cup final at the weekend. As the application is being made from abroad, he will be subject to more rigorous checks.
Russian officials have claimed that the crackdown is being used by the UK as political tool against Russian businesses. A spokesman for the UK Government responded by saying: “The prime minister has been absolutely clear that our argument is not with the Russian people, our dispute is with the Russian government.”
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