Roman Abramovic, owner of Chelsea Football Club has been granted Israeli citizenship, according to Israeli media.
The Russian-Jewish billionaire would have been granted citizenship under the Law of Return which allows Jews to become citizens of Israel, though the country’s absorption ministry declined to comment on the matter.
Abramovich had faced delays renewing his UK visa earlier this month and missed seeing Chelsea win the FA Cup at London’s Wembley Stadium.
His new citizenship comes with peculiar benefits as an Israeli citizen with a full passport can visit the UK for up to six months without a visa, according to the UK government’s web portal.
The billionaire’s UK visa had expired about three weeks earlier, and an application for a new one has taken an unusually long time.
This comes at a time of increased diplomatic tensions between London and Moscow after the poisoning of a former Russian spy with a nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury in March.
Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, is Russia’s 11th richest man with a worth of $10.8 billion, according to Forbes magazine.