Roman Abramovich, one of the world’s highest-profile Russian oligarchs and owner of the London soccer club Chelsea, is facing a longer than expected delay in renewing his UK visa.
A source close to Abramovich told CNN on Monday that the billionaire’s visa expired about three weeks ago and an application was made for a new one, but the process of renewal has taken longer than expected.
There has been no indication about why the process is taking so long, the source said. The assumption on the Abramovich team is that the visa will be granted, but he will know for sure only when it is in his passport.
Answering a question from CNN during a call with journalists, Russian President Vladmir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said businesses there were “facing various manifestations of unfriendly and unscrupulous competitions.”
Peskov said he did not have any information relating specifically to Abramovich’s case.
Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, missed seeing his team win the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday.
A CNN review of the flight plans of Abramovich’s plane suggests he has not been in the UK since April 1.
Spokespeople for Abramovich, Chelsea Football Club and the British Home Office all declined to comment.
Abramovich’s visa delay comes amid a deterioration in relations between London and Moscow over the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
According to Forbes Magazine, Abramovich is Russia’s 11th richest man with a worth of $10.8 billion.
CNN’s Matthew Chance reported from Moscow. Nada Bashir reported from London. Mary Ilyushina in Moscow contributed to this report.