Russian-Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich, who immigrated to Israel in 2018, reportedly bought a mansion earlier this year in the central Israeli city of Herzliya, in the most expensive residential real estate sale ever in the country.
The owner of London’s Chelsea soccer club bought the home for a record NIS 226 million ($65 million) in late January, just before the coronavirus pandemic reached the Jewish state, the Globes website reported Monday, citing a source “close to the deal.”
Abramovich became Israel’s richest citizen when he immigrated after he ran into visa issues in the UK, amid a diplomatic spat between London and Moscow that eventually saw him leave London for Israel. He received an Israeli identity card under the Law of Return, which allows Jews to become citizens of Israel.
The Herzliya mansion is made up of two buildings, and its large size — 2.35 acres, or 9.5 dunams — stems from the fact that it was created by merging together four lots.
Most of the mansion was bought from British hedge fund manager Alan Howard, co-founder of Brevan Howard Asset Management, the report said. Abramovich last year rented it, with an option of eventually purchasing it.
Howard reportedly invested tens of million of dollars in the property, including expanding it and building the two buildings.
“The estate includes a tennis court, and a swimming pool on a hydraulic platform that can be converted into a guest area for events,” the report said.
It is the third property Abramovich has bought in Israel, after two buildings he respectively bought in 2015 and 2019, in Tel Aviv.
Until Abramovich arrived in the Jewish state, the country’s largest residential real estate sale totaled NIS 146 million, when businessman Teddy Sagi bought another Herzliya property.
Abramovich is worth $12.2 billion according to Forbes, and is the world’s 113th-richest person.
As a new citizen in Israel, he is exempt from taxes on income earned abroad for 10 years, and need not declare the sources of that income for the same period.
He formally has residency in Jersey in the Channel Islands, a tax haven, but has never taken it up.