Swiss billionaire claims he’s been offered chance to buy soccer giants Chelsea from Roman Abramovich

March 2, 2022, 12:33 PM UTC

Roman Abramovich is selling his London properties, according to British MP Chris Bryant, and a Swiss billionaire said he’s been approached about buying Chelsea Football Club.

“He’s terrified of being sanctioned, which is why he’s already going to sell his home tomorrow and sell another flat as well,” Bryant, a member of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, said in Parliament in London. 

Hansjoerg Wyss, the Swiss businessman, said he received an offer to buy Chelsea on Tuesday, along with three other potential buyers. He told Swiss newspaper Blick that he’s waiting a few days and that Abramovich is currently asking for too much.

“He’s in panic just like all other oligarchs,” Wyss said in the interview.

While the U.K. has sanctioned more than 100 Russian individuals and entities in response to the invasion of Ukraine, Abramovich has so far remained off the list. But the Russian billionaire has been under increasing pressure from the nation’s politicians

On Saturday, Abramovich handed direct control of Chelsea to the trustees of its charitable foundation. Bryant has said Abramovich shouldn’t be allowed to own an English football club.

A representative for Abramovich didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. On Monday, a spokesperson said he was trying to help broker an end to the war in Ukraine.

On Chelsea, Wyss added that he could imagine buying the football club as part of a group.

“I‘m definitely not doing something like this alone,” he said. “If I buy Chelsea, then it’s with a consortium consisting of six to seven investors.”

Also read: Western powers crack down on ‘golden passports’ to take down wealthy Russians

U.K. real estate brokers surveyed by Bloomberg said it might be difficult for the properties to be sold quickly. Suitors of Chelsea are on high alert over a possible sale of the prized English football club, people familiar with the matter have said, but previous reports that Chelsea was on the block didn’t result in a sale.

Still, Russia’s warmongering has cast the opulent assets held by some of its billionaires — everything from high-end property to private jets and superyachts — into the spotlight as the U.S., EU and U.K. ramp up sanctions. Lawmakers like Bryant are pressing to widen their scope and have talked of asset seizures.

Abramovich, with a net worth estimated at about $13.5 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is understood to own multiple homes in London. The property Bryant was referring to is a mansion at Kensington Palace Gardens, according to a person familiar with the matter. The flat referenced is a penthouse at Chelsea Waterfront, the person said.

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