Boris Johnson has claimed in the House of Commons that the owner of Chelsea football club “faces sanctions”
A Downing Street spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson “badly expressed” when he claimed Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich was “already under sanctions”.
Outlining his government’s sanctions in response to Russia’s recognition of breakaway republics in Ukraine’s eastern region, Johnson said action had already been taken against the businessman.
However, as Johnson left the House of Commons on Tuesday, Labor MP Chris Bryant disputed that claim, calling on Johnson to correct the record after giving a “false indication” that Abramovich had been disciplined.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said he was sure Johnson would issue a correction, but did not say when or how he would seek to do so.
Abramovich settled a lawsuit in December against HarperCollins, accusing him of making an unsubstantiated claim in the book ‘Putin’s People’ that he bought Chelsea FC at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The publisher agreed to edit future copies to remove the claim.
In February 2021, the British newspaper Times published a correction after having “falsely claimed that Mr Roman Abramovich lost his British citizenship and said he made his money selling state assets after the fall of the Soviet Union.” In response to the “mistakes,” the Times donated to a charity chosen by Abramovich.
Britain’s Independent newspaper issued an apology earlier that month for publishing an article about Abramovich, in which it accused him of being a “bag holder” for Putin’s illicit wealth. The outlet acknowledged that the allegation was unfounded.
According to Forbes, Abramovich has a net worth of around $13 billion, making him the 12th richest person in Russia. He made his fortune amid the privatization of Russia’s oil and metal industries in the 1990s. He bought English Premier League football club Chelsea in 2003.
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