The potential redirection of funds garnered from the sale of Chelsea FC, owned by Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, is stirring global controversy. According to a recent report from 'The Telegraph', there is a proposal to channel the £2.34 billion from the club's sale towards Israel, as opposed to Ukraine. This suggestion, however, has faced rejection from the UK, believed to be an attempt to circumvent condemnation in Russia.
Intention for Funds Takes a Turn
Initially, Abramovich had pledged to use the proceeds from Chelsea's sale for the aid of Ukraine war victims. However, Europe's stringent insistence on the funds being utilized within Ukraine's borders has left them frozen in a London bank account. The origin of the proposal to redirect the funds to Israel is murky, with notions that it could have come either from Abramovich himself or Israel, where he obtained citizenship in 2018.
Humanitarian Aid or Political Manipulation?
Following a deadly terrorist attack in Israel by Hamas on October 7, the possibility of using the funds for humanitarian purposes in Israel was mooted. Additionally, the funds could potentially aid earthquake victims in Turkey, where Abramovich has recently established connections. The discussions in Israel have reportedly taken place without Abramovich's knowledge, remaining informal with no official requests made. The British government, however, has explicitly declined the proposal of directing the funds to Israel.
Abramovich's Ties to Israel
Before sanctions were imposed on Abramovich last year, his ties with Israel had grown significantly stronger. He funded a forest in Southern Israel, dedicated to Lithuanian Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Whether the funds will ultimately be used for the initially intended purpose in Ukraine, or redirected elsewhere, is yet to be seen.