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Under sanctions, Roman Abramovich has seen wealth halved to $7.5 billion

Times list of UK’s richest shows Russian-Israeli oligarch has taken severe financial hit as West clamps down on Russian tycoons’ money

In this image taken from a video provided by the Turkish Presidency, Russian Roman Abramovich, center, listens to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the Russian and Ukrainian delegations meeting for talks in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2022. (Turkish Presidency via AP)
In this image taken from a video provided by the Turkish Presidency, Russian Roman Abramovich, center, listens to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the Russian and Ukrainian delegations meeting for talks in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2022. (Turkish Presidency via AP)

Sanctioned Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich has lost around half of his fortune in the past year, according to an updated list of the UK’s richest people issued by The Times newspaper, likely in large part due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Times said Abramovich had dropped in net worth from some £12 billion ($15 million) in 2021 to £6 billion ($7.5 billion) in 2022.

Abramovich amassed a fortune in Russia’s oil and aluminum industries following the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. In 2005, Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom paid $13 billion for the Sibneft oil company controlled by Abramovich, allowing Putin’s Kremlin to recapture state influence in the lucrative energy industry.

Abramovich, the billionaire Russian-Israeli tycoon and owner of Chelsea Football Club, has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has been hit hard by Western sanctions since Moscow launched its war against its neighbor in February.

Western countries including the United States and the EU have imposed unprecedented sanctions against Russia over its assault on Ukraine, including placing oligarchs and other individuals close to Putin on sanctions lists.

Analysts have said Russia’s invasion has been a personal disaster for Abramovich, leaving him sanctioned by the EU and UK, forced to sell Chelsea, and seeing billions wiped off the value of his assets.

Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich sits in his box before their English Premier League soccer match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, December 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

In late March, Abramovich took part in Turkish-hosted peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, which failed to resolve the conflict.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at the time that Abramovich had been making “sincere” efforts for peace since the first days of the war, adding that he had made a “positive” contribution to diplomatic efforts.

He has been largely absent from Britain since 2018, when he withdrew an application to renew his visa amid a clampdown on rich Russians after a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury. Britain blamed Russia for the pair’s exposure to a nerve agent, an allegation Moscow denied.

He took Israeli citizenship that year, although it is not clear how much time he spends in the country but was seen at Ben Gurion airport in March.

Controversially, he also holds a Portuguese passport by claiming to be a descendant of Sephardic Jews.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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