After sanctions forced the sale of Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea Football Club his associates were paid £50 million – meanwhile billions of dollars in proceeds meant to help Ukraine are frozen in red tape

Picture of Roman Abramovich via Wikipedia and excerpt from Chelsea FC Holding financial filing

After Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government in 2022, his Chelsea Football Club was sold for approximately $2.5 billion to a consortium led by Todd Boehly with Clearlake Capital Group led by Behdad Eghbali.

Proceeds of the sale were supposed to be redirected to victims of the war in Ukraine, but have been frozen in a UK account because of bureaucratic red tape. Last week Bloomberg reported that a foundation that is being set up to provide Ukraine with $2.9 billion in proceeds from the sale for humanitarian help, are delayed by approvals needed from the UK and EU.

A recent story by Inside World Football reports on the annual accounts for Chelsea FC Holdings Limited for the period ending June 30, 2022, and notably that the “ownership change brings £50m cash windfall for Abramovich era Chelsea directors.”

Per the latest filing for Chelsea FC Holdings Limited published last weekend for the period ending June 30, 2022, £49,750,000 was paid by Blueco 22 Limited (part of the new ownership structure of Chelsea FC) to former directors of Chelsea FC Holdings Limited in connection with the services provided to Roman Abramovich’s company Fordstram Limited related to the sale.

Here’s an excerpt from the filing:

After the sale of Chelsea FC four directors resigned in May and June 2022 including Marina Granovskaia, Eugene Tenenbaum, Bruce Buck and Jonathan Guy Laurence. Granovskaia and Tenenbaum have been close associates of Roman Abramovich for many years. I reported on a company owned by Abramovich called Tri-Star Capital which had provided $120 million in mortgages to a Fisher Island, Florida development deal, and Eugene Tenenbaum was listed as a director of Tri-Star. Bruce Buck was described by the Financial Times as “one of Roman Abramovich’s closest confidants” since the 1990s when Buck was a lawyer at Skadden Arps and advised Abramovich’s oil company Sibneft. Jonathan Guy Laurence is the former Chief Executive of the Chelsea FC.

In a related story, last August 2022, I reported that Trump Tower had a significant new tenant called 730 Fifth Upper LLC, which is part of Russian billionaire Vlad Doronin’s Aman Group which was developing Aman New York across the street from Trump Tower. In 2022 Vlad Doronin’s Aman Group hired former FBI official Charles McGonigal as Global Head of Security, who was indicted on multiple charges earlier this year, which I reported on here.

In 2019 a construction loan for $750 million was arranged by Cain International for the development of Aman New York. Vlad Doronin’s frequent real estate partner Cain International is run by Todd Boehly who led the consortium that purchased the Chelsea Football Club in 2022.


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