Roman Abramovich WON'T apply for new UK visa and scraps new £1bn Chelsea stadium after Russian spy poisoning row

Just hours after plans for Chelsea’s new stadium were put on hold, sources confirmed the Russian billionaire had given up waiting for the Home Office to rubberstamp his bid for new papers.

A source close to the tycoon insisted that after securing Israeli citizenship, the oligarch no longer required a UK investor visa.

But without a visa he will not be allowed to work in the UK. Mr Abramovich doesn’t hold an official position at Chelsea FC despite owning the club.

The move emerged just as Chelsea revealed it was freezing its new £1billion stadium revamp. In a statement the club said: “No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur.”

They said the decision was due to an "unfavourable investment climate".

Following the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, tensions between Russia and Britain have hit an all-time low.

It is feared that Mr Skripal – who was convicted in his home country for selling secrets to MI6 – was singled out for a state-sponsored assassination plot.

Russia has denied any wrongdoing, but the British government is certain that Putin is linked to the attempted killing and former Home Secretary Amber Rudd vowed to review visas given to wealthy Russians between 2008 and 2015.

A statement from Chelsea today claimed: "The decision was made due to the current unfavourable investment climate."

Mr Abramovich will be allowed to visit the UK visa-free for up to six months at a time with his new Israeli passport – but he can't work here.

Overseas tycoons can pick up an investor visa if they vow to spend more than £2million on the UK economy.

They may also need to prove at least £2million of their investment in the UK is from legal sources

An Israeli government spokesperson said: “Roman Abramovich arrived at the Israeli embassy in Moscow like any other person.

“He filed a request to receive an immigration permit, his documents were checked according to the law of return, and he was indeed found eligible.”

Speculation about the owner began when was not present at Wembley to see his club win the FA Cup earlier this month, and Russia has accused Britain of "anti-Russia mania".

There is no suggestion that Abramovich is responsible for any wrongdoing, however he is the first oligarch caught up in the new vetting process following the attempt on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal's life.

AGAINST ALL THE ODDS: Doctors who treated poisoned Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter say they didn't think pair would live

A consultant who treated poisoned Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia has revealed he did not think the pair would survive.

Another doctor at Salisbury District Hospital said speaking to other staff about the attempted assassination using a nerve agent was like nothing he could have imagined in his "wildest imagination".

Medics at the hospital told BBC Newsnight about the extraordinary situation they faced when the Skripals were rushed into their care after being found unconscious from the effects of the military nerve agent Novichok on a bench in area on March 4.

Dr Stephen Jukes, intensive care consultant, said: "When we first were aware this was a nerve agent we were expecting them not to survive. We would try all our therapies.

"We would ensure the best clinical care. But all the evidence was there that they would not survive."

Dr Duncan Murray, head of the intensive care department, said: "I spoke to the nurse in charge (who had been on that night and it was this conversation I really could never have imagined in my wildest imagination having with anyone."

Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing at the hospital, said she was left wondering how big the situation would get when policeman Nick Bailey became the third person admitted in connection with the poisoning.

She said she began thinking: "Have we just gone from having two index patients having something that actually could become all-consuming and involve many casualties? Because we really didn't know at that point."

The hospital's medical director Dr Christine Blanshard, told Newsnight the long-term prognosis for the trio was unknown.

Chelsea's development of Stamford Bridge moved a step closer in January after Hammersmith and Fulham Council passed a motion that will prevent an injunction blocking the plans.

It was taken out by a neighbouring family, the Crosthwaites, who argue the stadium's expansion to a 60,000-seater would block light into their home.

But the council agreed to acquire land at Stamford Bridge which ensured the injunction is not valid, as the family cannot take the council to the High Court.

The new stadium, said to resemble "a temple", was granted planning permission almost 18 months ago and has been signed off by the Mayor of London.

It was meant to have been completed by season 2021/22, however the plans are now shelved following today's announcement.

Last year Abramovich announced he would be divorcing his third wife Dasha Zhukova.

The couple announced their split in August 2017, saying they "remain close friends, parents and partners in the projects we developed together" and were committed to jointly raising their two children.

Reports in Russia suggest the pair had rowed over competing plans for an island in the centre of St Petersburg which Abramovich ploughed £360million into.


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