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Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 20 May 2021 | 0 Comments

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20 May 2021

From London Mayfair to the Caribbean: wealth of Roman Abramovichs business dealings is unraveled  

The world has always been curious about the way Roman Abramovich made his money, but speculation has been replaced byintense scrutiny in recent weeks. The military onslaught on Ukraine by Putin’s troops has turned the spotlight on wealthy Russians operating in global jurisdictions and Abramovich- who describes himself as a Russian oligarch, businessman, philanthropist and politician - is no exception.

Best known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea, the Premier League football club in London, Abramovich is the primary owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC. His lavish wealth is often totalled at “around 8 billion”, though this is believed to a serious underestimation. Abramovich’s business partners are amongst many of the world’s most affluent people with his dealing running from luxurious real estate to the biggest names in sport and entertainment. British newspaper The Guardian detailed investments in a Caribbean island resort, plans to redevelop a Marylebone church and a vast array of property in the UK and beyond. It’s a mammoth business empire controlled by the Russian and his partner Aleksandr Frolov with the pair believed to hold a combined 29% stake in the Russian steel and coking coal producer Evraz.Abramovich founded Evraz and oversaw its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2005, for which he was generously awardedtheDecoration For Beneficence by Vladimir Putin. It is believed that Evraz makes steel components for the Russian military, including tanks, though Evraz has denied this, saying it only supplies steel to the infrastructure and construction sectors. Abramovich maintains close links to the Kremlin and was named on the so-called “Putin List” of 210 prominent Russians released by the US Treasury in 2018. Aside from assisting Putin in successfully bidding for the 2018 World Cup, Abramovich was also required by the Russian president to pay for some of it “in partnership with the state”. For a long time he effectively bankrolled the then Russia manager GuusHiddink’s £6.25m salary at Putin’s request. 

So all eyes are on Abramov and Frolovand their extraordinary portfolio, which includes multiple investments in the UK, according to Guardian reporters who seen documents firsthand. These include real estate in West Caicos, a Caribbean island intended to be developed as a luxury resort island and a co-investment in the redevelopment of All Souls Church near the BBC in Marylebone in London, to include office space. There is also investment in Shepherd’s Bush market, in which Abramovich is aiming to acquire a majority stake plus various office buildings in London, Leicester and Glasgow. In Prague, he has ploughed money into golf course community with more than homes and a hotel and spa, while there is a part-built hotel in Mykonos, alongside an operating partner. There is also an office at one of London’s most prestigious Mayfair addresses on Clifford Street. 

Abramovich’sUK property investments alone total more £100m and with Frolov, hecontrolsthe global network of investments via Vollin Holdings Ltd, an entity based in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven and financial secrecy jurisdiction. Vollin’s investments, worth more than €500m, are in turn managed by Kew Capital LLP, which was founded after Evraz was listed on FTSE and based in Mayfair. There is a lot for global governments to unravel 

Since he was sanctioned by the UK government, Abramovich’s assets have been frozen, meaning he cannot sell his stake in Evraz. Abramovich has resigned his role with Chelsea FC, and the football club is currently being sold  - though the sale has hit a serious obstacle in recent days over fears that Russian-born owner Roman Abramovich is attempting to renege on his promise to write off a £1.6 billiondebt.