• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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UK freezes £2.5bn in Chelsea sale funds for Ukraine war victims

Chelsea-Roman Abramovich-2

A whooping sum of £2.5billion from Roman Abramovich’s sale of Chelsea meant as a relief fund for victims of the Ukraine war has been frozen by the UK government 18 months after the sale of the club.

Russian Billionaire Abramovich sold Chelsea to a consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital in May 2022 for £4.25billion, with the Russian oligarch stating he would donate the “net proceeds” of the sale to the “victims of the war in Ukraine”.

Abramovich said the proceeds would be used for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine when announcing his decision to sell the club a month after Russia invaded Ukraine.

“I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated,” Abramovich said in a statement. “The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.

Read also Chelsea takeover: Todd Boehly consortium signs agreement of £4.25 billion

“This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”

However, 18 months after the sale has been completed, the UK government has refused to release funds, noting that unless it is guaranteed that the money only goes to Ukrainians in Ukraine, not elsewhere.

“The proceeds from the sale are frozen in a UK bank account,” Europe Minister Leo Docherty told the House of Lords European Affairs Committee.

“We’re now going through a process of independent experts establishing a foundation to manage the money.

“The key difference… is whether the funds get used in Ukraine or for Ukrainians outside of Ukraine. It’s not quick, it’s not easy, but we’ve got to ensure this attends to the needs of Ukrainians in Ukraine and not elsewhere.”

Daniel Drake, the deputy director of the sanctions taskforce in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, added: “We wouldn’t want to speculate. There’s a disagreement between those running this fund and the government.”