November 16 – The Roman Abramovich era could come back to haunt Chelsea following reports that the club face possible sanctions over allegations of hidden payments linked to the club’s former Russian owner.
The Guardian newspaper reports that leaked files show the Russian billionaire used offshore companies to make transactions worth tens of millions of pounds and could have breached financial rules if they were not officially declared.
The Premier League is already investigating the club after their new owners voluntarily reported “potentially incomplete financial reporting” linked to the Abramovich regime while completing their own due diligence as part of the takeover by a consortium led by American investor Todd Boehly.
Chelsea’s stance under their new owners has been to consistently examine any allegations of impropriety under the previous ownership. Abramovich was forced to sell up last year after his assets were frozen by the UK government following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Chelsea were fined £8.6 million by UEFA in July as part of a settlement for breaking Financial Fair Play rules as a result of “submitting incomplete financial information” between 2012 and 2019 during Abramovich’s reign.
The alleged new payments have come to light as part of an international investigation known as Cyprus Confidential, a cache of 3.6 million offshore records leaked to various media outlets.
A Chelsea spokesperson said of the latest claims: “These allegations pre-date the club’s current ownership. They are based on documents which the club has not been shown and do not relate to any individual who is presently at the club.”
Yet the revelations are likely to intensify questions over how Abramovich, who owned Chelsea for 19 years, funded a period of unprecedented success.
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