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© RIA Novosti. Sergey Subbotin

Chelsea’s Abramovich quits Russian politics

by R-Sport at 02/07/2013 18:34

Billionaire Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich has left Russian politics because of a new law banning officials from keeping their money abroad, authorities in the region where he was a lawmaker said Tuesday.

For 14 years, the tycoon has held various political offices in the remote region of Chutokta, where his representatives say he has spent $2.5 billion on improving the area’s infrastructure - almost as much as the estimated $1.5 billion in losses during his time as Chelsea owner.

Until Tuesday, he was speaker of the regional parliament, after spending eight years as governor until 2008.

“Today at a session of the Chukotka Autonomous Region Duma, the deputies accepted the voluntary resignation of Roman Arkadievich Abramovich from the post of deputy and speaker of the Duma,” the regional government said in a website statement.

The authorities said Abramovich’s decision to quit was “linked” to a federal law passed in May aimed at stopping state officials and lawmakers from keeping their assets in offshore banks.

Although Abramovich no longer has a formal political role, his money will continue to flow into Chukotka, authorities suggested.

“Roman Abramovich will continue to take part in the like of the Chukotka Autonomous Region. In part, the implementation continues of a number of major regional business projects that will significant increase the tax base of the region in the future,” the government said.

Had Abramovich hung on, the only possible punishment he could have faced for keeping money abroad was to be expelled from the parliament.

Abramovich's fortune comes largely from the oil and metals businesses and is estimated at $10.2 billion by Forbes magazine.

This article replaces the original story published at 13:57 on July 2, correcting spending figures in Chukotka

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