Roman Abramovich, the owner of Premier League biggies Chelsea FC finds himself mired in controversy in a leak confirmed by BBC News Arabic.
The billionaire Russian oligarch, who was granted Israeli citizenship in 2018, has been an avid philanthropist in Israel, donating huge sums to research and development projects and investing in local firms. And while until now Abramovich had been using his wealth to bring about a change for good in the Israeli neighborhood, this time around the destination of his donations is ELAD, a right-wing group that supports settlements in the Palestinian neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem called Silwan.
The entire episode came to light from leaked documents courtesy of an investigation carried out by the BBC News Arabic.
A controversy worth $100 million-
ELAD, which means “God’s eternal faith” in Hebrew, is a right-wing Israeli group that has been taking advantage of the vague Israeli laws to strengthen the Jewish presence in the neighborhood of Silwan at the expense of its Arab residents.
The controversial Israeli law states allow the government to take over the Palestinian property and ELAD, with the backing of the Israeli government, is trying to rein in Jewish settlers as well as promoting Jewish tourism on the confiscated lands.
The entire episode has been widely criticized, particularly from the European Union, which sees it as an attack on the City’s Palestinian roots.
This is where the Chelsea owner and his companies step in.
A new investigation into #Abramovich from the team @BBCArabic as part of the #FinCENFiles which reveal how banks and the US Government did little to stop global money laundering despite intelligence. Well done @OwenPinnell @rosiepelican @BettinaWaked @muskhalili https://t.co/piQOsvWdZw
— Jess Kelly (@Jeky_Kelly) September 22, 2020
Abramovich’s funds were used by Elad to purchase Palestinian homes in Silwan and strengthen the presence of Jewish settlers there.
How come a 16 year old story that first appeared more than a decade ago is now being passed off as new by a hack from the Biased Broadcasting Corporation? How much are they paying this excuse for a journalist out of the licence fee? #Abramovich https://t.co/UJgRnK1xtY
— Blue Tomorrow (@Blue_Tomorrow8) September 22, 2020
The leaked documents show that donations from four companies held in the British Virgin Islands made up nearly half of Elad’s entire donations from 2005 to 2018. And Abramovich apparently owned three of those.
It remains to be seen whether Abramovich has broken any international laws in the process and whether or not would he be subjected to EU regulations which have until now been extremely critical of the entire Palestinian-Jewish issue.
What next for Chelsea-
Frank Lampard’ Blues didn’t have the best of starts to the campaign having endured a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool and would be up against West Brom next Saturday to turn around their fortunes. But before that Chelsea would be up against Barnsley in 3rd round of EFL cup on Wednesday.
Manchester City, on the other hand, began their title challenge on a positive, if a bit slow, note against Wolves whom they beat 3-1 courtesy of goals from D’ Bruyne, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.
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