Take a closer look at Russian oligarch's $700 million superyacht that is one of the largest in the world

  • Roman Abramovich had seemingly scrambled to avoid sanctions from the UK by moving his superyachts.
  • One of those is The Eclipse, which cost $700 million to build and was once the biggest in the world.
  • That yacht was once in New York City and we took some photos.

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Like other Russian oligarchs, Roman Abramovich had seemingly scrambled to avoid sanctions and that included quickly moving his superyachts to more friendly waters.

Many of the 55-year-old billionaire's assets — such as the Chelsea Football Club and several homes — have been sold or frozen since Russia launched an unprovoked war on Ukraine, Bloomberg reported . 

While Abramovich couldn't move the Premier League football club Chelsea FC and sold the $3 billion club , his yachts are another matter. 

Abramovich's 553-foot-long flagship is The Eclipse, estimated to have cost $700 million when built. After sanctions were initially dropped by the UK against Abramovich, his second "smaller" $600 million superyacht, Solaris, left Barcelona, Spain, and moved to friendlier waters in Turkey.

Solaris was joined in Turkey by The Eclipse, which arrived from the Caribbean .

While the superyacht Eclipse was photographed in Turkish waters in early August , it was once docked at Manhattan's Pier 90, and Robert Johnson was able to get some pictures. Take a tour of the superyacht below. 

Robert Johnson contributed to this post.

Just south of this public parking lot on the roof of the Pier 90 terminal in New York City sat Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's flagship yacht, the "Eclipse."

abramovich chelsea yacht

536-feet long and styled after military vessels.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The 2010 Eclipse cost $700 million and was the world's largest yacht when built.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The vessel has amenities to rival any ship on the sea — like its own mini submersible, perhaps similar to this— able to dive down 150-feet.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The Eclipse has two helipads.

abramovich chelsea yacht

Bulletproof glass and armor plates wrap the length of Roman's master suite and the bridge.

abramovich chelsea yacht

And a German-built missile defense system.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The ship's also supposed to have a laser defense against paparazzi trying to photograph the yacht's guests, but saw no evidence of the device when we were there.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The Eclipse has three launch boats.

abramovich chelsea yacht

That looked to be stocked with medical supplies and a variety of handheld radios.

abramovich chelsea yacht

From the cruise ship parking lot it felt like we were almost on the Eclipse itself.

abramovich chelsea yacht

But with little chance we'd be invited aboard through the ship's door here ...

abramovich chelsea yacht

... We hoped to find one of the 70 crew members required to sail the Eclipse and see if they'd tell us what ship life was like.

abramovich chelsea yacht

But we found no one interested in talking.

abramovich chelsea yacht

But we certainly didn't feel like paparazzi, or that we'd be lasered, when we were in the parking lot tourists use when they arrive to board their cruise.

abramovich chelsea yacht

From up here, the ship was simply stunning and the amount of work required to keep her that way apparent.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The Yacht Report says owning a superyacht costs about 20% of the ship's initial value every year.

abramovich chelsea yacht

But experts believe that Roman probably pays $75 million a year to run the private cruise ship with 24-guest suites.

abramovich chelsea yacht

Looking at the layout of the ship gets us talking about the two swimming pools inside, the disco, cinema, hair salon, and restaurant.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The billionaire's guests would use this door to enter any fore part of the deck.

abramovich chelsea yacht

Perhaps noting where the life rings were as they made their way about the ship.

abramovich chelsea yacht

At 13,000 gross tons, the Eclipse was, at the time, the largest vessel to use a special stabilization system to keep it calm in rough waters while anchored or moving slowly through the sea.

abramovich chelsea yacht

Roman faced a $150,000 tab for parking the Eclipse in New York City while possibly visiting his daughter and her new baby — about $2,000 a day.

abramovich chelsea yacht

A large yacht like the Eclipse can hold over 100,000 gallons of fuel.

abramovich chelsea yacht

Depending on the current price of fuel, a five-hour cruise each way could cost about $30,000.

abramovich chelsea yacht

None of those numbers are likely to concern Roman Abramovich, however, who has an estimated net worth of nearly $8 billion.

abramovich chelsea yacht

Source: Forbes

Here is some drone footage of the superyacht.

You can see interior photos of the luxury yacht at Boat International

abramovich chelsea yacht

Step on board the 162.5m Eclipse - the second largest superyacht in the world

abramovich chelsea yacht

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Chelsea owner Abramovich’s luxury yacht docks in Turkey

Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht "Solaris" that belongs to Roman Abramovich sails near the Aegean coastal resort of Bodrum, Turkey, Monday, March 21, 2022. A yacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in Turkey's Aegean Sea resort of Bodrum, Turkish media reports said Monday, amid international moves to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen with close links to the Kremlin. (IHA via AP)

Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht “Solaris” that belongs to Roman Abramovich sails near the Aegean coastal resort of Bodrum, Turkey, Monday, March 21, 2022. A yacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in Turkey’s Aegean Sea resort of Bodrum, Turkish media reports said Monday, amid international moves to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen with close links to the Kremlin. (IHA via AP)

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A yacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in Turkey’s Aegean Sea resort of Bodrum, Turkish media reports said Monday, amid international moves to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen with close links to the Kremlin.

Turkey’s private NTV television said the Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht Solaris docked at the southern port in Turkey — which has not joined sanctions on Russia — after departing from Montenegro.

A group of Ukrainians carrying Ukrainian flags with the words “No War” emblazoned on them boarded a small motor boat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking, the Sozcu newspaper reported.

It was not known if Abramovich was aboard the yacht or if it was moved to Turkey to avoid sanctions.

Last week, the European Union imposed sanctions on Abramovich as it updated a list of individuals facing asset freezes and travel bans over their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, which has sent the Russian military to invade Ukraine. Abramovich had already been punished in Britain.

NATO-member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two.

Turkey has closed the Turkish Straits connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to most Russian warships but has not imposed sanctions on Russia or shut down its airspace to Russian flights.

Last week, Abramovich arrived in Istanbul from Jerusalem aboard his private jet before departing for Moscow the next morning.

abramovich chelsea yacht

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Roman Abramovich’s $1bn five-yacht fleet revealed

The luxury yacht Eclipse moored off Marmaris in Turkey.

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Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich owns or is linked to a collection of five yachts estimated to be worth almost $1bn, including several vessels whose ownership remained secret until this week.

A Financial Times investigation into the billionaire’s assets has lifted the veil of secrecy he maintains over his wealth, even after the UK and EU imposed sanctions on him following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for his allegedly close relationship with President Vladimir Putin.

Authorities in the UK and EU are attempting to identify all of the assets owned by sanctioned oligarchs. Abramovich was already widely reported to be the owner of Solaris and Eclipse — worth $474mn and $437mn, respectively, according to yacht data service VesselsValue. But the FT revealed this week that he also owns Halo and Garçon, which are both moored in Antigua.

The Antiguan government was unaware of the ownership of the boats docked on the island before inquiries from the FT, highlighting the scale of the challenge UK and EU authorities face in enforcing sanctions.

Tom Keatinge, director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank said governments, banks and other institutions trying to enforce sanctions had to navigate a world where “ownership trails run cold and morph into a haze of front companies, nominees and cut-outs”.

The yacht Amore Vero after being impounded by French authorities in La Ciotat, France.

Halo and Garçon are valued at $38mn and $20mn, respectively, and are now at risk of being seized.

In a letter to the British high commissioner to Barbados regarding the yachts, Antiguan minister of foreign affairs Paul Chet Greene said the island would “provide full assistance to the government of the United Kingdom” if it receives a request under the two nations’ Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

The letter noted that Antigua had requested information on the company that owns the two boats — British Virgin Islands-registered Wenham Overseas Limited — after “persistent allegations by the Financial Times that the vessels could be owned by Mr Roman Abramovich”.

In response, the British high commission provided Antiguan authorities with a letter, seen by the FT, “from the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Islands which states the beneficial owner of Wenham Overseas Ltd is Roman Abramovich”.

The letter also shows the billionaire’s address in Switzerland is listed simply as “Immeuble, Gatzby Le Magnifique”, which translates as “The Great Gatsby Building”.

Keatinge described the UK’s ability to demand full ownership information of companies registered in any of its overseas territories or crown dependencies as its “most powerful global weapon” in combating financial secrecy.

However, he asked: “How much is that weapon being used?”

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps with the impounded Russian-owned yacht Phi in Canary Wharf, east London.

A person with knowledge of Abramovich’s boat collection and documents seen by the FT indicate that the oligarch may also still be the owner of Sussurro, the first yacht he bought in 1998, despite reports he had given it to an ex-wife in a divorce.

The person who correctly identified the two yachts in Antigua as belonging to Abramovich told the FT the oligarch still owned Sussurro.

The vessel’s owner is listed in maritime registers as Vesuvius International Limited in the British Virgin Islands. BVI documents show this company was deregistered there in 2017. Another Vesuvius International was registered in Jersey the same year.

The owner of Jersey-based Vesuvius International is listed as Wotton Overseas Holdings Limited. This entity — which shifted from the BVI to Jersey in 2017 — is also the owner through a subsidiary of a helicopter that has been photographed landing on Abramovich’s Solaris several times.

Maritime tracking services show Sussurro, which means “whisper” in Italian and is valued at $11mn, is moored in La Ciotat in the south of France — the same port where the French government last month seized a $116mn superyacht belonging to a company tied to Igor Sechin, head of Russian oil group Rosneft.

Sussurro’s management company is Blue Ocean Management, a Cyprus-based company that also manages Le Grand Bleu, a 113-metre superyacht that Abramovich reportedly gave to his business associate Eugene Shvidler.

The UK placed Shvidler under sanctions last week.

The letter from the BVI’s financial investigation agency to its British counterparts also reveals that the owner of Le Grand Blue — Ashchurch Holdings Limited — is owned by “Zarui Shvidler”. Shvidler’s wife is commonly known as Zara Shvidler.

VesselsValue pegged Le Grand Bleu’s market value in a range of $110mn-$130mn, noting that the boat had last been tracked this week in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Representatives for Abramovich and Shvidler did not respond to requests for comment.

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Roman abramovich: first images of chelsea owner's £430 million yacht emerge.

Chelsea's Abramovich is one of the richest owners in world football

Roman Abramovich isn't exactly short of money.

Besides, this is the man who commands one of the world's biggest football clubs and ploughs tens of millions into their coffers each season to keep them competing for the Premier League title.

But when the Russian billionaire isn't keeping the Chelsea war chest topped up, you can rest assured that he's enjoying the perks of being, well, a Russian billionaire.

Abramovich's riches

However, of all the perks that come with having money coming out of your ears - as a sports journalist, I would know, obviously - owning a yacht seems to be pretty high on the list for Abramovich.

Now, we don't pretend to be experts in the world of yachting, but I think most football fans around the world are aware that Abramovich has one of the most formidable armadas on the high seas.

And it seems as though Abramovich isn't satisfied with his current fleet of yachts because he's adding a new luxury vessel to his collection that will set him back a cool £430 million.

New yacht 'Solaris'

According to The Sun , Abramovich's new yacht, named Solaris, is nearing completion and has been photographed for the very first time.

The vessel's two advanced electric engines are set to make it the most powerful yacht in the world and it boasts no less than eight decks which, naturally, includes a helicopter pad.

It can reach a top speed of 18 knots, has a gross tonnage of 11,000 and is 140 metres in length.

Photo credit: Carl Groll/TheYachtPhoto.com

But Solaris is about more than just power and landing sites, boasting an astonishing 48 cabins that can accommodate 36 passengers as well as a pool, outdoor beach club, jacuzzi and spa.

The luxury vehicle, which is said to be approaching its first sea trials, will be manned by 60 crew members and could be ready for Abramovich in the summer.

A source told The Sun: "This will be the yacht of the year when she is launched later this year. Details are being kept top secret but she will be a magnificent addition for the owner.

"To give you an idea of the size of Solaris the yacht shed she is being built in is bigger and taller than Buckingham Palace so you have some idea of the dimensions.''

Wowsers. Pretty swish then. Has anyone got one available for, say, £30? Anyone? Anyone???

Roman Abramovich's superyacht Solaris heads for Turkey as oligarch Chelsea owner gets assets out of Europe

One of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's superyachts, Solaris, is heading for Turkey, while a second, Eclipse, is off the coast off Algeria. Another Russian oligarch, Andrey Melnichenko, recently had a £444m superyacht seized by Italian authorities as part of EU sanctions.

By Jason Farell, Sky News correspondent, in Istanbul

Thursday 17 March 2022 10:44, UK

Abramovich is pictured in his box at Chelsea. Pic: AP

Roman Abramovich appears to be on a mission to get his assets out of Europe as sanctions tighten.

His superyacht Solaris, worth £430m, is heading south, apparently towards Turkey , after docking in Montenegro on Sunday. Previously, it had been at a repair yard in Barcelona - and had it remained there it might well have been seized by now.

Abramovich has been named on the fourth package of European Union sanctions that will see assets frozen for those Russian super rich considered to be linked to President Vladimir Putin.

Follow live updates on Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Roman Abramovich's yacht Solaris was seen in the waters of Porto Montenegro in Tivat, Montenegro, on Saturday

Due to sanctions passed last week, any cash or property the Chelsea FC owner holds in the UK are now frozen. His shares on the London stock exchange cannot be sold and won't pay dividends, and he can no longer benefit from the planned £3bn sale of the club. He is also banned from entering the UK.

Abramovich's journey back to Russia

Abramovich's second superyacht, Eclipse, is off the coast of Algeria. Its closest European port is Italy - where another oligarch, Andrey Melnichenko, recently had a £444m superyacht seized by authorities as part of EU sanctions.

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On Sunday night, Abramovich made a whistle-stop trip to Israel, where he is a citizen. Israel currently has no sanctions on Russian oligarchs, and the billionaire owns property in the country.

He was photographed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Monday afternoon before flying for a brief stop in Istanbul; Turkey is another possible safe destination for Russian money. From Istanbul his private Gulfstream G650ER jet - registration LX-Ray - flew to Moscow in the early hours of Tuesday morning .

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abramovich chelsea yacht

Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak claims to have met Abramovich, last week, to discuss buying Chelsea. A spokesperson for Mr Bayrak says another meeting was planned later this week.

Despite the British government freezing £3.2bn of his UK assets, including the west London club, it is thought Abramovich could still play a role in the sale, but only on the basis that he does not personally profit from it.

It is not clear whether Mr Bayrak, who made his money in energy, real estate, and cryptocurrency, has the funds to make the purchase.

What is happening with the Chelsea sale?

The British government is open to a sale and wishes to minimalise impact on the club and its fans, but Chelsea is required to approach the government with a proposal before a new licence is granted. Its primary condition is that Abramovich does not financially benefit from any sale.

Read more: How sanctions on Abramovich will affect Chelsea fans

File photo dated 18-05-2021 of Chelsea fans in the stands stands during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK Government, freezing the Russian-Israeli billionaire...s planned sale of Chelsea.Chelsea will be given a special licence to continue operation, but the sale of the Stamford Bridge club is now on hold. Issue date: Thursday March 10, 2022.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on 2 March, pledging to write off £1.5bn of debt and to divert all proceeds to a new foundation to benefit victims of the war in Ukraine .

The government sanctioned him, claiming to have proved his direct links to Mr Putin's regime. Abramovich has always denied any association.

On Tuesday, a further 370 new sanctions were announced by the UK government - bringing the total to more than 1,000 individuals, entities and subsidiaries now under the Russia sanctions regime since the invasion of Ukraine.

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Nigel Huddleston, the minister for sport, told a committee of MPs: "We are working with Chelsea and the fans that the measures we have put in place primarily impact Roman Abramovich and make sure he does not benefit, whilst making sure that where possible we can reduce the impact on the fans and make sure Chelsea can still continue.

"Can the government allow an entity to fail? Yes, it can, whether it's sport or football or anything else, but what we want to do is make sure the impact of sanctions hits those we want."

Looking to the future, he told the digital, culture, media and sport select committee: "We do recognise there is a need for further refinement and more robust owners' and directors' tests and the integrity element of that is something that is being pushed."

In other developments:

• More than 100,000 Britons register interest to house Ukrainian refugees • UK announces sanctions against 350 more Russian nationals and entities • UK bans luxury goods exports to Russia and hikes import tariffs on products - including vodka • Briton who travelled to warzone to join military fight against Russia leaves over 'suicide mission' fears • Employee interrupts Russian news programme with anti-war slogan

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Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s Two Superyachts Are Sailing Towards Each Other in the Mediterranean

Ship tracking platforms show that the billionaire’s yachts "eclipse" and "solaris" are relocating to the mediterranean, with no port destination specified., emma reynolds, emma reynolds's most recent stories.

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Blohm & Voss "Eclipse" Superyacht

Russian oligarch and billionaire Roman Abramovich is on the move—and so are his superyachts.

After being slapped with sanctions in response to Russia ’s invasion of Ukraine, the billionaire was last seen on March 14 at an airport in Israel, where he has dual citizenship, according to Reuters .

Abramovich, who is currently worth an estimated $7.1 billion, according to Forbes , appears to be moving his yachts to safer waters. His 533-foot superyacht Eclipse , normally anchored year-round in the Caribbean, has been sailing east towards the Mediterranean since February 21, according to global ship tracking platform MarineTraffic. As of Wednesday, the ship is located off the coast of Algeria and is still sailing east with no port destination specified. The yacht, estimated to be worth over $600 million, is one of the largest and most expensive in the world , and seems to be cruising towards Abramovich’s other yacht, Solaris , in the Ionian Sea.

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Russian oligarchs yachts continued to be seized

Roman Abramovich’s “Solaris” superyacht.  Courtesy of Lloyd Werft

The 461-foot Solaris  is currently located in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece and heading south. Solaris was most recently at a port in Barcelona, where it had reportedly been receiving repairs since late 2021 . The ship left without declaring a destination. However, it’s possible both Solaris and Eclipse are heading towards each other and are even eyeing ports in Israel where Abramovich is considered safe from sanctions.

Though a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Abramovich has denied having close ties to the Kremlin. This hasn’t stopped dozens of nations, including the US, UK and several EU countries, from implementing sanctions and asset freezes on the oligarch. The sanctions are part of a concerted multinational effort to pressure Russia’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals to help bring Russia’s war on Ukraine to an end.

Perhaps sensing the economic pressures to come, Abramovich made headlines just days after the Ukraine invasion for stating his intention to sell his beloved Chelsea Football Club in London for $2.5 billion. The billionaire said all proceeds would benefit Ukrainian refugees and “victims of the war,” which, notably, may also include Russian soldiers.

Russian oligarch and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich

Russian oligarch and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich appears to be seeking cover from international sanctions in Israel, where he has dual citizenship.  Associated Press

Russians own up to 10 percent of the world’s megayachts, so Abramovich is just one of many Russian billionaires who are moving their assets to avoid seizure by international authorities. This week, Italian police seized Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko’s 486-foot Sailing Yacht A, and earlier this month, France impounded the yacht Amore Vero , owned by Russian oil billionaire Igor Sechin. Other Russian billionaires have had their yachts impounded in other EU countries.

This isn’t the first time Russian oligarchs’ whereabouts have been made public. Florida teen Jack Sweeney, who once tracked Elon Musk’s jet, created a Twitter account —@RUOligarchJets—dedicated to tracking the private jets of Russian oligarchs, which is updated daily.

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Chelsea owner Abramovich’s luxury yacht docks in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A yacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in Turkey’s Aegean Sea resort of Bodrum, Turkish media reports said Monday, amid international moves to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen with close links to the Kremlin.

Turkey’s private NTV television said the Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht Solaris docked at the southern port in Turkey — which has not joined sanctions on Russia — after departing from Montenegro.

A group of Ukrainians carrying Ukrainian flags with the words “No War” emblazoned on them boarded a small motor boat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking, the Sozcu newspaper reported.

It was not known if Abramovich was aboard the yacht or if it was moved to Turkey to avoid sanctions.

Last week, the European Union imposed sanctions on Abramovich as it updated a list of individuals facing asset freezes and travel bans over their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, which has sent the Russian military to invade Ukraine. Abramovich had already been punished in Britain.

NATO-member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two.

Turkey has closed the Turkish Straits connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to most Russian warships but has not imposed sanctions on Russia or shut down its airspace to Russian flights.

Last week, Abramovich arrived in Istanbul from Jerusalem aboard his private jet before departing for Moscow the next morning.

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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's new £430million superyacht nears completion

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is preparing to welcome a new addition to his yacht collection and the new model is once again a sight to behold

  • 06:30, 24 FEB 2021

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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich almost has his hands on his new £430million superyacht.

The Russian is famed for his travels on his picture-perfect yachts, but he clearly feels he is due an upgrade, splashing out almost half a billion on a new purpose-made model.

The 460ft Solaris comes with a swimming pool and a helipad and is nearing completion in a German shipyard ahead of this summer, as reported by The Sun .

The ship has no fewer than eight decks with 48 cabins, capable of holding 36 guests, as well as 60 crew members. It's the seventh superyacht Abramovich has owned.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The Chelsea owner also has the Eclipse and has had five other yachts, including including the 162ft Sussurro, the 282ft Ecstasea, the Luna and the Pelorus, each 377ft, and the 371ft Grand Bleu.

Abramovich's current yacht is actually a little bigger with the Eclipse measuring 533 ft, but the new model has plenty to offer, including two high-tech Azipod engines, which provide excellent manoeuvrability and remove any rudder.

The ship is currently being built in a shipyard in Bremen, Germany and is said to be close to going through sea trials before being handed over to Abramovich for summer travels.

A source told The Sun: "This will be the yacht of the year when she is launched later this year."

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The Solaris is set to come with an outdoor beach club area, a jacuzzi and a spa, as well as the swimming pool, but it still comes in a little cheaper than the £540million Eclipse he currently owns.

The Eclipse reportedly came with an anti-missile system as well as bulletproof glass around Abramovich's sleeping quartets, but it's not clear whether the new model will include those features.

The source added: "Details are being kept top secret but she will be a magnificent addition for the owner.

"To give you an idea of the size of Solaris the yacht shed she is being built in is bigger and taller than Buckingham Palace so you have some idea of the dimensions.'"

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Chelsea owner Abramovich's superyacht cruises in to Montenegro marina

abramovich chelsea yacht

TIVAT, MONTENEGRO (AFP) - A superyacht belonging to the Russian billionaire owner of Chelsea football club sanctioned over Russia's invasion of Ukraine anchored off Montenegro on Saturday (March 12), an AFP photographer said.

Roman Abramovich's 140m-long Solaris cruised into the Porto Montenegro marina on the Balkan country's Adriatic coastline.

Local media outlets who have been monitoring the ship's movements over recent days on maritime tracking websites said the boat left the Spanish Mediterranean port of Barcelona on March 8.

The United Kingdom on Thursday hit Abramovich with an assets freeze and travel ban as part of new sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs it described as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

The football club owner has denied any association.

Canada followed suit the next day, saying he and four other individuals would "be prevented from dealings in Canada and their assets will be frozen".

The 55-year-old businessman, who has often been reported to be cruising off Montenegro and neighbouring Croatia, is rumoured to own half a dozen yachts.

The UK sanctions also targeted Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska.

Media outlets in Montenegro have reported that one of Deripaska's boats, Sputnik, was spotted leaving Porto Montenegro on Friday. The vessel is often seen accompanying his own superyacht, Clio.

Abramovich had already announced his intention to sell Chelsea before the UK sanctions, with a host of potential buyers declaring their interest in a club that have won 19 major trophies since he bought it in 2003.

The UK government is still open to a sale but would have to approve a new licence, on the condition no profit would go to the Russian.

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Chelsea owner Abramovich's luxury yacht docks in Turkey

Associated Press

ANKARA – A yacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in Turkey's Aegean Sea resort of Bodrum, Turkish media reports said Monday, amid international moves to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen with close links to the Kremlin.

Turkey’s private NTV television said the Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht Solaris docked at the southern port in Turkey — which has not joined sanctions on Russia — after departing from Montenegro.

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A group of Ukrainians carrying Ukrainian flags with the words “No War” emblazoned on them boarded a small motor boat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking, the Sozcu newspaper reported.

It was not known if Abramovich was aboard the yacht or if it was moved to Turkey to avoid sanctions.

Last week, the European Union imposed sanctions on Abramovich as it updated a list of individuals facing asset freezes and travel bans over their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin's government, which has sent the Russian military to invade Ukraine. Abramovich had already been punished in Britain.

NATO-member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two.

Turkey has closed the Turkish Straits connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to most Russian warships but has not imposed sanctions on Russia or shut down its airspace to Russian flights.

Last week, Abramovich arrived in Istanbul from Jerusalem aboard his private jet before departing for Moscow the next morning.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich buys a £288m yacht

It has all the usual mod cons you would expect for a yacht belonging to a football-loving billionaire – helipad (well, two actually), a cinema, sports complex and even a disco. It also boasts a ­mini-submarine and looks like a sleek naval destroyer.

According to reports today, Roman Abramovich , owner of Chelsea FC, is now also the proud owner of the world's most expensive private yacht, the Eclipse. Costing €340m (£288m), it has many original features, including a German-built ­missile defence system – useful in the event of attack.

The Eclipse set sail from Hamburg's Blohm + Voss shipyard last week, and is due to be delivered to Abramovich next year, after the finishing touches have been applied. Nearly 170 metres long, it is bigger than Abramovich's other three mega-yachts – and is 11 metres longer than the world's previous biggest yacht, which belongs to Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai.

"It's like a big mansion on water," one Russian yacht expert, who declined to be named, said. "The difference between a mansion and a super-yacht is that the yacht moves. You can be in the Med, the Caribbean, wherever."

Asked why Abramovich's yacht looked like a scary grey military frigate, the expert added: "It's a trend. Private yachts look like military boats these days. The yacht is a statement for many people. It's a statement about power."

The yacht has 11 guest cabins, two swimming pools and a disco hall, Germany's Bild newspaper reported, adding that the windows in Abramovich's master suite are fitted with bullet-proof glass. The mini-submarine is capable of submerging to 50 metres.

Maintaining the Eclipse isn't going to be cheap. Annual costs are likely to be €30m. About 70 crew are needed to run the yacht, including a captain, stewards, and an electrician – as well as someone to serve the drinks and sweep the sundeck.

Yesterday Abramovich's spokesman declined to comment on the yacht. But it appears the tycoon has no intention of cutting back on his personal expenditure, despite the global economic crisis, which has severely battered Russia's well-connected oligarch class.

According to Russia's Forbes magazine, Abramovich lost $24.3bn last year – leaving him with an $8.5bn fortune. He is Russia's second richest man, beaten into first place by the oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, who sold his metals business just before the crisis hit.

Abramovich's latest acquisition raises questions about his connections with the Kremlin, at a time when ostentatious expenditure is officially out of fashion. Russia has been severely affected by the economic crisis, which has seen demonstrations in several provinces by workers who have lost their jobs.

Earlier this month Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, gave a savage dressing down to the tycoon Oleg Deripaska, chucking a pen at him, after one of Deripaska's factories went bust, throwing 2,500 people out of work.

Abramovich, who was spotted by the paparazzi with his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova, 27, today heading off for a holiday in St Tropez, France, has so far been exempt from such treatment.

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Roman Abramovich’s luxury yachts, from Chelsea owner’s new £430m Solaris to the £1BILLION Eclipse

  • Published : 9:37, 9 Mar 2022
  • Updated : 9:41, 10 Mar 2022
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ROMAN ABRAMOVICH certainly doesn't do things in halves.

The Chelsea owner, worth a cool £10bn, was sanctioned by the UK government as part of attempts to crackdown on wealthy Russians with assets in the UK - but what yachts does he own?

Roman Abramovich's new yacht Solaris is currently in development

The Russian, 55, who has faced calls to be barred from owning Chelsea and his £152m home amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine , must love travelling by sea.

He has had a private navy of yachts - with SunSport believing Solaris to be his EIGHTH over the years.

The latest yacht was completed last year and is believed to have cost £430million to build .

A 460ft beast of the sea, it features eight decks, as well as a helicopter pad and was seen cruising the French Riviera last summer.

The yacht was built at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany and the shed it was constructed in was larger than Buckingham Palace.

Solaris has 48 cabins, accommodating up to 36 passengers, and a crew of 60 plus and boasts two advanced engines to be the most powerful yacht in the world.

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Roman's current superyacht , the Eclipse - with all the work that's been done to it - is said to now be worth £1billion.

Built in 2010, it was completely rebuilt in 2015 to cater for the high-spec needs of a multi-billionaire.

Incredibly, the 553ft Eclipse has its own missile defence system - should it come under attack.

There are 24 guest cabins, two swimming pools, hot tubs, a sauna, and even a nightclub.

It also boasts a cinema, conference room, children's playroom, hair salon, and a mini-submarine that can dive to 50m. Yes, that's right. It's a yacht that boasts its own submarine.

The colossal Eclipse sails into New York harbour

LE GRAND BLEU

Worth £135million, Le Grand Bleu was once Roman's pride and joy.

Twenty guests can stay in luxury onboard, and enjoy it's many amenities.

Astonishingly, as is the theme with these yachts, there are more boats on board.

As well as a 73-foot sailboat, guests can also enjoy taking a 68-foot powerboat for a spin. And there are two more boats in its internal garage on top of that.

It is now owned by Abramovich's friend Eugene Schvidler.

Le Grand Bleu, worth £135m, is now owned by Eugene Schvidler

Currently available to buy for £16million, the Sussurro is now over 20 years old.

It was built by Feadship, measures over 163 feet long and boasts six luxury cabins that can house 12 guests.

Rarely used, it has been reported that the Sussorro was given to Roman's ex-wife Irina Malandina, as part of a divorce settlement.

With 15,000 combined horsepower, it is capable of reaching speeds of 46 knots.

Sussorro can reach speeds of up to 46 knots

Valued at around £110million, the Ecstasea is still one of the fastest superyachts around - boasting 43,000 horsepower and measuring 282-feet.

Abramovich was the original owner from 2004, before it was sold to Pakistani businessman Alshair Fiyaz in 2009.

There's room for 14 guests, can be staffed by a crew of 25, and can be reached by helicopter, which can park on one of two helipads.

The Ecstasea suffered damage in 2019 when it clipped the Simpson Bay Bridge in the Caribbean island of St Maarten.

Roman Abramovich was the original owner of the Ecstasea in 2004

So that's what £270million gets you.

Built in 2003, the 377-foot long Pelorus was briefly owned by a Saudi Arabian businessman before Abramovich got his hands on it in 2004.

A year later, he lent it to Chelsea legends John Terry and Frank Lampard for two weeks as a bonus for helping the club win Roman's first Premier League as owner.

Then in 2007 he allowed Terry and his wife Toni to enjoy their honeymoon on board.

However, it was also reportedly handed to Irina in the divorce settlement, who sold it to American film exec David Geffen in 2011.

Abramovich got his hands on the Pelorus in 2004

Currently the second largest expedition yacht in the world, the Luna was delivered to Roman in 2010.

It boats 10 VIP cabins, that are 100 square metres each, as well as a 20-metre outdoor pool.

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Like the Eclipse, it also has an anti-missile system, as well as bulletproof windows.

In 2014, it was sold to Azerbaijani billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov for £210 million.

Luna was delivered to Roman in 2010

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Chelsea owner Abramovich's luxury yacht docks in Turkey

Montenegro russia ukraine war oligarch superyachts.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A yacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in Turkey's Aegean Sea resort of Bodrum, Turkish media reports said Monday, amid international moves to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen with close links to the Kremlin.

Turkey’s private NTV television said the Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht Solaris docked at the southern port in Turkey — which has not joined sanctions on Russia — after departing from Montenegro.

A group of Ukrainians carrying Ukrainian flags with the words “No War” emblazoned on them boarded a small motor boat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking, the Sozcu newspaper reported.

It was not known if Abramovich was aboard the yacht or if it was moved to Turkey to avoid sanctions.

Last week, the European Union imposed sanctions on Abramovich as it updated a list of individuals facing asset freezes and travel bans over their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin's government, which has sent the Russian military to invade Ukraine. Abramovich had already been punished in Britain.

NATO-member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two.

Turkey has closed the Turkish Straits connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to most Russian warships but has not imposed sanctions on Russia or shut down its airspace to Russian flights.

Last week, Abramovich arrived in Istanbul from Jerusalem aboard his private jet before departing for Moscow the next morning.

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Special report: What Roman Abramovich did next

“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person,” Roman Abramovich said in a statement on the Chelsea website on March 2, 2022, when he confirmed his intention to sell the Premier League club after 19 years as its owner.

Eight days later, any short-to-medium-term hopes of this visit were curtailed when the British government announced sanctions had been placed upon Abramovich following the full Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. The British government now describe Abramovich as a “prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch”. They say he is associated with Russian president Vladimir Putin and, via his stake in steel and mining group Evraz, they accuse Abramovich of “obtaining a benefit from or supporting the government of Russia by carrying on business in sectors of strategic significance to Russia”.

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His assets in the UK were frozen, he was banned from travelling to the country and it is forbidden for any British citizen or company to do business with him. Within a week, the European Union followed suit.

The sanctions, which had been anticipated from the moment Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, explained Abramovich’s decision to dispose of Chelsea and brought an ignominious end to his reign in English football, during which Chelsea won 31 trophies across their men’s and women’s teams.

Chelsea, as an institution of community value, received a licence to sell up even though Abramovich’s assets were frozen, but the government made this conditional on the funds raised from a sale being directed to the victims of war in Ukraine via a new foundation. Yet almost 14 months since a consortium led by the U.S. private equity firm Clearlake Capital and Todd Boehly acquired Chelsea, the £2.5billion ($3.2bn) raised remains in a frozen bank account belonging to Fordstam, which is controlled by Abramovich, due to a dispute between the British government and the independent officials appointed to run the foundation over how and where the money should be spent.

abramovich chelsea yacht

As for Abramovich, a life of globetrotting excess and opulence has been disrupted.

Here was a man whose New Year’s Eve parties, hosted on the Caribbean island of St Barts, became a golden ticket for billionaires, popstars and Hollywood’s cast of famous and infamous. Over the years, his St Barts estate hosted showbiz royalty such as Beyonce, Sir Paul McCartney, Prince, Jay-Z and Kanye West, as well as media baron Rupert Murdoch, the later-disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein and the Star Wars creator George Lucas.

Guests brought in the New Year with breathtaking firework displays set off from Abramovich’s 162-metre-long yacht Eclipse, which cost $700million (now £541.7m) to be built as the world’s largest superyacht in 2010 (it has since been relegated to No 3, behind yachts owned by the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates and Oman). His mansion in London’s Kensington Palace Gardens, acquired for £90million in 2009, stands on one of the English capital’s most exclusive streets and a short walk from Kensington Palace, which is home to Prince William, the future King of the United Kingdom.

Now, however, Abramovich’s existence is rather different, although it may be a rather small violin playing for a man who, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, still has an estimated net worth of $7.53billion, albeit down from $19billion in late 2021.

During the past 18 months, Abramovich has found himself exiled from mainland Europe. He is under investigation from prosecutors across several jurisdictions, including the U.S., Canada and Portugal, having been granted citizenship of the Iberian country in April 2021. He has also attracted the most extraordinary headlines as a man who has held in-person meetings with the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and, at various times, found himself mediating over peace talks, where a story emerged that he may have been poisoned, as well being on the ground during prisoner-of-war exchanges and present for secret talks to repatriate Ukrainian children that have been taken into Russia.

Here , The Athletic goes inside the fall of the Roman Empire and what happened next.

To many football supporters, Abramovich may be the most famous person whose voice they have never heard. Even in the best of times, he rarely spoke publicly. He appeared often, particularly in the directors’ box at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium. Or he would join the celebrations, as he did at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao stadium in May 2021 when Chelsea beat Manchester City to win the Champions League for the second time. Yet in that period, very few people truly got close to Abramovich. He almost never affords interviews to the media and certainly not ones designed for scrutiny. Thomas Tuchel, his final coach at Chelsea, only met Abramovich for the first time when he won the Champions League six months after being hired. Abramovich declined to comment or respond formally to any questions for this report, while sources close to the Russian spoke only on the condition of anonymity due to not being authorised to speak publicly and owing to the sensitivity of matters discussed.

For a long time, Abramovich’s discretion did not matter to Chelsea supporters, who saw their club spend more than £2billion on player transfers and rack up silverware. Curiosity and questions over the Russian’s finances and alleged links to Putin were mostly confined to investigative journalists, such as Catherine Belton, whose critically acclaimed book Putin’s People: How The KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West became the subject of legal action from Abramovich, and others, in part because it made the unproven claim that he had bought Chelsea at the behest of Putin. In December 2021, Abramovich settled a libel case against publisher HarperCollins in return for the removal or revisions of various allegations and a payment to charity, while the aforementioned claim about Abramovich’s motivations for buying Chelsea would no longer be portrayed as a statement of fact and Abramovich’s explanation for why he bought the club would be included.

An earlier court ruling by Mrs Justice Tipples noted that “there was no dispute between the parties that the claimant’s relationship with President Putin is a significant one”.

Abramovich’s silence did not even appear to be a major concern for English football when, in 2018, relations between Britain and Russia soured following the poisoning of the former Russian secret agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, which the UK believed to be the responsibility of Russian military intelligence officers.

abramovich chelsea yacht

A few months later, Abramovich withdrew his application to renew his tier-one investment visa in the UK. The British Labour MP Chris Bryant, speaking with parliamentary privilege (which grants legal immunity when speaking to the House of Commons), said last year: “I’ve got hold of a leaked document from 2019, from the Home Office, which says in relation to Mr Abramovich: ‘As part of HMG’s (Her Majesty’s government) Russia strategy aimed at targeting illicit finance and malign activity, Abramovich remains of interest to HMG due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices’.”

The Athletic has not independently verified this report, but multiple people who have worked in the British Home Office say officials previously considered bringing in Abramovich for questioning over his links to Putin and, on one occasion not long after the Skripal poisoning, they were disappointed to learn he had left the country via Luton airport’s private jet terminal. There is no suggestion Abramovich was made aware of the intentions of the Home Office. People close to Abramovich attribute his visa application withdrawal to his frustration over delays and a fear he would become a symbol of British political grandstanding against rich and famous Russians as tensions spiralled with Russia.

A Home Office spokesperson told The Athletic : “We do not routinely comment on individual cases. All applications are considered on their individual merits in line with the Immigration Rules.”

From 2018, Abramovich did not travel to the UK for three years and his only publicised visit came when he joined Israeli president Isaac Herzog in November 2021 as part of his work campaigning against antisemitism. His representatives say he made other less public trips to the UK around this time, but it is unclear when he last visited the country. He was able to travel to London under his Israeli citizenship, granted in 2018 and made possible because citizenship is granted to any Jewish person who wishes to move there.

These days, Abramovich’s life is spent between Sochi, Istanbul and Tel Aviv, while he has also been spotted house-hunting in Dubai, which has become a playground for rich Russians following sanctions from the West. He rarely keeps up with football, perhaps for the best considering Chelsea struggled last season, sacking two managers.

Since Chelsea was sold, Abramovich has not spoken publicly, but his most official version of how he spends his time can be found in filings made to the U.S. Department of Justice by the law firm Kobre & Kim, who disclosed that they had been enlisted to represent the Russian in June 2022. In the disclosure, his lawyers said they had been hired to provide advice for “judicial and administrative proceedings”, as well as “interface with government agencies”. The filing also ticked a box to confirm that Abramovich is “supervised” and “directed” by a foreign government, foreign political party or foreign principal . 

What does this mean? Well, an explanatory note in July 2022 says the supervision refers to how “s ince February 2022, Mr Abramovich is acting as a mediator in the peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, with the goal of finding a diplomatic solution to end the armed conflict. Mr Abramovich is acting in an independent capacity within these negotiations and was approved by both countries to take on the role as a mediator. In addition to his involvement in the negotiations, Mr Abramovich has been heavily involved in advocating for and coordinating the establishment of humanitarian corridors and other humanitarian rescue missions”. 

The Russian’s contract with the U.S. law firm said the lawyers who work on this matter would charge $1,450 per hour for their services. Quite whether the firm can actually receive his legal fees may be another matter because the contract also says the company is required to obtain a licence from the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation before they can receive money from the Russian, owing to the measures against Abramovich in the UK. For the six-month reporting period ending April 30, 2023, Kobre & Kim reported they had so far been unable to receive payment. Both the law firm and the British treasury declined to comment as to whether a licence has now been granted.

While football fans obsessed over the fate of Chelsea, Abramovich’s attention was closer to home when Putin began his brutal invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Since then, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner has recorded more than 25,000 civilian casualties (more than 9,000 deaths and over 16,000 injuries) in Ukraine, while more than six million Ukrainians have been displaced as refugees. The estimation of military deaths is complex and contested, but General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in November 2022 that around 100,000 soldiers on both sides had been killed or injured in the first nine months of the war alone.

When war broke out, Abramovich had been on the French Riviera, where he owns Chateau de la Croe, a 19-acre residence previously leased by English royalty in the 1930s and where the former British prime minister Winston Churchill celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary in 1948. Sources close to Abramovich claim he was one of more than 100 prominent people contacted by Ukrainians as President Zelenksy’s government sought to deter Putin’s invasion. Official contacts between the two countries had been cut off and well-connected go-betweens were required. Abramovich’s contacts are wide and extensive, owing to his investment in the independent art scene in eastern Europe as well as his strong ties to the Jewish community. He has donated more than $500million to Jewish causes around the world in the past 15 years, according to his lawyers, but Abramovich did not publicly speak out when Putin claimed to be “denazifying” Ukraine. The Ukrainian filmmaker Alexander Rodnyansky, whose son advised Zelensky, told the Financial Times: “The Ukrainians had been trying to find someone in Russia who could help in finding a peaceful solution. They reached out for help and Roman is the person who decided to help and mobilise support for a peaceful resolution.”

abramovich chelsea yacht

Abramovich, whose representatives had spent so many years denying he had any privileged access to Putin, secured a meeting with the Russian president, which culminated in Abramovich being granted a role as mediator in peace talks, according to the independent Russian news website Proekt .

Abramovich’s only formal political role in Russia was as governor of Chukotka for an eight-year period until 2008.

David Lingelbach, formerly head of Bank of America’s Russian operations in Moscow and now a professor at the University of Baltimore, tells The Athletic : “There’s this famous period in Abramovich’s career where he is the governor of Chukotka, out in the Russian Far East, and he basically said, ‘Yeah, I’ll go out there and be the governor’. And he lived there and he dumped a fair bit of his then fortune into helping the people there. And all of that was, in my view, a way to demonstrate to Putin that he was a person who was willing to do whatever it took to demonstrate fealty and loyalty, which I think is probably one of Putin’s higher values.

“I don’t know any one of the other oligarchs who was willing to make that kind of a sacrifice. Siberia is a world unto its own. And to make a choice, to go to a place like Chukotka that even a lot of Russians couldn’t place on a map and work there for some period of time was quite extraordinary. And it was acknowledged. It bought him a lot of running room with Putin and he has since diversified his holdings, by moving his base of operations first to London and perhaps now Istanbul.”

Abramovich appears to maintain the trust of Putin, but The Wall Street Journal also reported that President Zelensky requested that US President Joe Biden should not follow the lead of Britain, the EU and Canada by imposing sanctions on Abramovich, as the Russian appeared to have a degree of trust, or use, within Ukrainian diplomatic circles. The Ukrainian government declined to comment when approached by The Athletic, which sources in diplomatic circles attributed to the ongoing sensitivity of Abramovich’s role.

David Arakhamia, Ukraine ’s lead negotiator when the war began, described Abramovich’s contribution as “helpful”, saying it was a way to receive informal opinions on matters important to Russia during negotiations. Yet not everybody was convinced. Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain, Vadym Prystaiko, told the BBC he had “no idea what Mr Abramovich is claiming or doing” at the meetings.

The happenings around Abramovich became stranger. During the first week of the war, he was present during negotiations in Belarus. Then, in early March, the Sunday Times claimed he had become a diplomatic postman, hand-delivering a “handwritten letter” from Zelensky to Putin in which the Ukrainian president set out his conditions for a peace agreement. The newspaper claimed Putin responded by saying: “Tell him I will thrash them.”

The most startling episode came when the Wall Street Journal and Bellingcat claimed Abramovich was among three people present at peace talks at the Ukraine-Belarus border who suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning by an “undefined chemical weapon”. Abramovich reportedly experienced sore eyes and peeling skin, with a New York Times report claiming he asked a scientist who examined him: “Are we dying?”

An anonymous U.S. official later told Reuters that the symptoms may have been due to “environmental” factors rather than poisoning, while Ihor Zhovkva, an official in the Ukrainian president’s office, told the BBC that the two Ukrainians who had been reported to be poisoned were “fine”. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian Kremlin, said the reports were part of an “information war”.

Abramovich’s purported brush with mortality did not end his mediation role. In the final week of March, he was photographed in a blue suit at the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey hosted a summit of diplomats aimed at securing a ceasefire. Ibrahim Kalin, the official representative of President Erdogan, described Abramovich, who sat at the front of the observers, as “someone who was appointed by Putin as a negotiator .” Kremlin spokesman Peskov went softer. He said: “ Abramovich is involved in ensuring certain contacts between the Russian and Ukrainian sides and he is not an official member of the delegation. You know that our delegation is headed by presidential aide (Vladimir) Medinsky, but nevertheless, from our side, he (Abramovich) is present at the negotiating table.” 

In the case of Abramovich, his presence attracted curiosity and cynicism. One former British foreign office official, speaking anonymously due to the terms of his exit, told The Athletic that Abramovich may have been “riding two horses”, on the one hand seeking to improve his image in the West, while Putin, who mostly surrounds himself with parochial FSB or former KGB personnel, may have appreciated the global perspective and insight of a commercial figure such as Abramovich.

Peace talks in March last year failed but, according to his lawyer’s filings, Abramovich still considers himself to be mediating. Last summer, he became involved in the exchange of 200 Ukrainian prisoners of war in return for 55 Russians, as well as a group of foreign nationals from the U.S., Britain, Croatia, Sweden and Morocco. Sources close to Abramovich say he was present at meetings involving the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, with the Saudi state instrumental in negotiating the exchange. There were four different sites where prisoners were exchanged, but Abramovich was present at Rostov-on-Don airport, where several British prisoners were released. Aiden Aslin, one of the Brits released, wrote in the Daily Mail newspaper how, upon boarding the plane, another of the captives recognised a familiar man.

abramovich chelsea yacht

“You don’t half look like Roman Abramovich,” said Shaun Pinner, one of those released.

“I am Roman Abramovich,” the man replied.

Over time, elements of this story have been glamourised, with suggestions Abramovich provided iPhones to the men to call their families and served steak to the released prisoners. Sources both close to Abramovich and the Saudi government say the Saudis organised the plane, the food and all services on board, while Abramovich was present.

Aslin said he was grateful to Abramovich for his role in the release, but added that his “gratitude to Abramovich and the Saudi prince has its limits.” He said: To me, they are knights in dark satin, playing a game with the Kremlin for their own purposes.”

Abramovich has also been involved in mediation efforts to agree deals to secure grain out of Ukraine and ammonia out of Russia, while the Financial Times claimed last week that the oligarch has been privy to conversations with Saudi Arabia and Turkey to repatriate Ukrainian children taken into Russia during the war. In March, the international criminal court in The Hague indicted Putin and the Russian children’s commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for the mass abduction of Ukrainian children, meaning an international arrest warrant is now out for Putin.

Lingelbach, who worked closely with Putin in the 1990s when running Bank of America’s operations, says Putin may stand to benefit from Abramovich’s involvement, with the return of some of the children perhaps helping his case should he be tried for war crimes even in absentia. Lingelbach says: “I think he’s trying to keep the channels open to keep his options open and Abramovich is part of that process.”

For many years, Abramovich has carefully choreographed a reputation as a philanthropist, which is emphasised by the filings made by his own lawyers to the U.S. Department of Justice.

His lawyers say Abramovich is the chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, a trustee of the Moscow Jewish Museum and in 2018 he received an award from the Federation of Jewish Communities to commend the contribution of more than $500million he had donated to Jewish causes. In March 2022, as the war began, this appeared to secure Abramovich some allies in Israel. The Washington Post reported how Dani Dayan, chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, wrote to the U.S. ambassador for Israel to discourage sanctions against Abramovich.

The letter described Abramovich as the museum’s second-largest private donor and played down suggestions Abramovich had links to Putin. On February 22, 2022, two days before Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Yad Vashem had announced a new long-term strategic partnership with Abramovich and the museum spokesman Simmy Allen described it as an eight-figure donation. Within three weeks, following British sanctions against Abramovich, Yad Vashem had suspended its partnership with Abramovich.

Abramovich maintains Israeli citizenship, yet the Portuguese government is carrying out an inquiry into the process that led to Abramovich securing citizenship under a law that offered naturalisation to descendants of Sephardic Jews previously expelled from the country. The Portuguese government did not respond to an email requesting an update on the status of the inquiry and neither did lawyers representing Abramovich.

In the U.S., Abramovich has still not been sanctioned, but he appointed lawyers on June 15, 2022, nine days after a federal judge in New York authorised the U.S. government to seize two private jets that a 14-page sworn affidavit by FBI special agent Alan Fowler concluded were owned by the Russian. The prosecutor alleged that two of Abramovich’s planes flew to Russia in March 2022 in violation of export restrictions the U.S. had imposed following the Russian invasion. This included a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, acquired for $93.6m in 2017 by a shell company the FBI say was owned by Abramovich, which has since been re-designed to increase its value to $350m.

Fowler also stated his belief that in or about February 2022, “Abramovich reorganised the ownership of his assets, including by making his children (all of whom are Russian nationals) the beneficiaries” of an offshore trust in Cyprus, which he claimed sat at the top of a structure of shell companies that ultimately owned the planes. Abramovich has four daughters and three sons.

abramovich chelsea yacht

The Guardian further alleged in January this year that the reorganisation of Abramovich’s affairs started in 10 separate trusts in the weeks leading up to the Russian invasion, while in April, the British government placed sanctions on Demetris Ioannides, who they said “ is responsible for crafting the murky offshore structures which Abramovich used to hide over £760million of assets ahead of being sanctioned following Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine”. 

Sources close to Abramovich argue that some of the reorganisation can be explained by banks approaching Abramovich in the months leading up to the invasion in response to media coverage that reported heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine. They claim banks wanted loans to be repaid to mitigate the impact of any possible changes to their client’s assets or ability to release funds.

Lingelbach, formerly of Bank of America in Moscow, says this would be logical: “I don’t have the granular knowledge about the run-up to the 2022 invasion, but when I was working in Russia in the ’90s, we had the 1998 Russian financial crisis and we observed exactly the same thing. We as a foreign bank knew something pretty bad was going to happen, so we were already reducing our exposures. The banks would have been saying, ‘We need to settle before you become illiquid’. I noticed also that Abramovich had started doing some stuff. I’m surprised more of the oligarchs weren’t more strategic in that regard.”

Abramovich is also under threat in Jersey, where authorities have frozen $7billion worth of assets, although local police apologised and paid damages for unlawful searches of his property.

The Canadian ministry of foreign affairs announced in December that Canada will start the process to seize and pursue the forfeiture of $26million from Granite Capital Holdings Ltd, a company owned by Abramovich, and seek to use the funds generated to help reconstruct Ukraine.

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told The Athletic : “Restraint of these assets does not change the ownership. It is a first step in a legal process. The Government of Canada continues to carefully consider next steps towards potentially applying to Canadian courts for forfeiture. Numerous procedural fairness steps for the owner and any affected third parties are included in the asset seizure and forfeiture regime and associated court proceedings.”

Last May, Abramovich challenged the sanctions imposed by the European Union and this month his lawyers appeared at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to argue that the sanctions were based more on fame than “on evidence”. They argued that he has been an “upstanding citizen”, with lawyer Thierry Bontinck adding: “Celebrity is a double-edged sword. Ask yourself this question: When the war started, did this very famous Russian have a chance of avoiding the restrictive measures? The answer is no. Even though he had lived, worked and invested in the West for more than 20 years.”

In the event of a victory, Abramovich is requesting the sanctions be overturned and that the European Union Council, by way of damages, makes a payment of €1million for the “foundation for victims of conflicts which is being established in connection with the sale of Chelsea FC”.

Making such a donation, however, may not be straightforward. This is because, over a year after the sale of Chelsea went through, a foundation is still to actually be established. The reasons for the delay centre on disagreements between the British government and the independent officials appointed to run the foundation, such as Mike Penrose, a former director of UNICEF, over where and how the vast funds should be spent. As of now, the money remains frozen in a bank account controlled by Abramovich and no bank account has been set up for the foundation.

The dispute rests on the British government’s original insistence, underpinned by a deed of undertaking, that any money raised from the sale should not benefit Abramovich and should be spent within Ukraine. This means there is now confusion and misalignment over whether the funds must be spent within the borders of Ukraine itself or whether it could be spent, for example, to assist the millions of displaced refugees or, for example, in countries that have been disproportionately impacted by shortages that have come about due to a shortage of Ukraine grain. The wording of Abramovich’s claim to the EU, referring to a “foundation for victims of conflicts” is non-specific to Ukraine, but the British government’s unilateral statement in May 2022 could not have been clearer.

It stated that the proceeds should be used “for exclusively humanitarian purposes in Ukraine” and warned that it will not “issue a licence which enables any part of the proceeds from a sale to be used in a way which would directly or indirectly benefit Roman Abramovich or any other designated person”. The statement added that the Portuguese government and the European Commission must also agree to any proposal and the destination of the proceeds. An official who has worked in Downing Street over the past year told The Athletic he had been given the impression that Whitehall officials would have no qualms about this money being frozen for years until they are convinced Russians would not unintentionally benefit in some way, while Penrose, speaking to the New York Times in June, said he had still not held any meetings with British government ministers. 

In a statement to The Athletic , a spokesman for the British foreign office said: “We’ve been clear since the sale of Chelsea FC went through that we’d only issue a licence that ensures the proceeds are specifically used for humanitarian purposes in Ukraine.”

The spokesman added that they “remain open to any arrangement that clearly delivers in line with these conditions”.

Lingelbach, who used to hold frequent meetings with Putin during his time as a banker in Moscow, says: “Putin must be chuckling about it because he will just see this as another demonstration of the utter ineffectiveness of the West, arguing for a year now since the club was sold. So there’s all this money sitting in Abramovich’s bank account that they cannot use. And the West, the UK government, it seems, is basically saying it has to actually go into Ukraine. But there are all of these Ukrainian refugees in Poland, for example. The UK government is right to insist there be controls in place to ensure the money does not end up in Russia’s hands. That’s a totally legitimate thing. But my response would be to these guys to get on with it.”

As with everything related to Abramovich, it appears complex. While he treads a fine line with Putin, his openness to the West yielded criticism from Russian officials who are even more hardline than Putin. In December, the Grey Zone Telegram channel, which is aligned to the Wagner group (a Russian paramilitary organisation), criticised Abramovich for appearing to receive sanctions relief while assisting the release of Ukrainian prisoners. Abramovich was out of Russia and photographed in Israel when the Wagner group, spearheaded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, briefly threatened to advance on Moscow in late June.

Abramovich has not spoken about this. Once again, the world is left to watch on, always second-guessing his next move and the motivation behind it.

(Top photo: Getty Images; design: Sam Richardson)

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Adam Crafton

Adam Crafton covers football for The Athletic. He previously wrote for the Daily Mail. In 2018, he was named the Young Sports Writer of the Year by the Sports' Journalist Association. His debut book,"From Guernica to Guardiola", charting the influence of Spaniards in English football, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2018. He is based in London.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's £1.2billion super yacht has tons of incredible features

Roman Abramovich is one of the richest people on the planet and he has a boat that flaunts his extravagant wealth

abramovich chelsea yacht

  • 07:30, 8 Sep 2019

Let's be honest, most of us have dreamed of winning the lottery.

But even if you won the record Euromillions jackpot of £189million, you would still not have enough money to buy a yacht like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's.

In fact, winning the record Euromillions jackpot five times over would still not give you enough cash for the Eclipse.

Originally contracted at a price of around £500million, the Eclipse has is now known as 'the $1.5billion yacht'... a hefty price tag, for sure.

The boat is arguably the most exclusive and extravagant piece of kit currently on water.

Abramovich sails around the world to a host of plush locations on his yacht, but is believed to rarely leave the boat himself.

And who could blame him, with all the amenities he has available for him.

Designed by French architect Hermidas Atabeyki, it was built by Blohm and Voss in 2010, with the interior kitted out by Terence Disdale.

It was the world's largest private yacht for around three years (until the Azzam was built in 2013).

The Eclipse is 162 metres in length, weighs 13,564 tons and has an average speed of 29mph.

It has room for 70 crew members - and there is even more crew accommodation available than there are guest rooms.

Of the 53 cabins, only 18 are for guests, with the other 35 for catering staff. The staff also get their own private cinema room.

Those staying on the boat can have guest suites with balconies.

The yacht boasts two helicopter pads, but there is space for a third in a storage hanger in the back if need be.

It even has a mini submarine which holds three people, plus three launch boats.

There are two separate swimming pools on board and multiple hot tubs, allowing a level of privacy for guests who could be travelling with Abramovich.

One of the pools is the largest swimming pool to be placed on any private yacht in the world.

But that pool perhaps gets even more interesting, given that it can drain out, allowing the base to rise... and turn into a dance floor.

And if one dance floor was not enough, there is also another separate disco hall.

There are also a host of detection devices to ensure the security and privacy of those using the yacht.

It has previously been reported that Abramovich's yacht has anti-paparazzi lasers, which can detect the electronic light sensors that cameras use

It means the camera is then targeted with a beam of bright light that overexposes the photo, rendering them useless.

However, given that pictures of Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry on the boat have been published previously, those claims are especially unlikely.

The Eclipse also has a missile-detection system.

So, if you ever wondered what winning the Euromillions might get you... it's not this. Even this would be out of your league.

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COMMENTS

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  4. Roman Abramovich's $1bn five-yacht fleet revealed

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  6. Roman Abramovich's superyacht Solaris heads for Turkey as oligarch

    One of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's superyachts, Solaris, is heading for Turkey, while a second, Eclipse, is off the coast off Algeria. Another Russian oligarch, Andrey Melnichenko, recently ...

  7. Roman Abramovich's Two Superyachts Are Sailing to the Mediterranean

    Abramovich, who is currently worth an estimated $7.1 billion, according to Forbes, appears to be moving his yachts to safer waters. His 533-foot superyacht Eclipse, normally anchored year-round in ...

  8. Roman Abramovich's super-yacht moved as Chelsea owner has assets frozen

    What Roman Abramovich sanctions really mean for Chelsea and what the club can and can't do; So where in the world are the two super-yachts that we know are linked to Abramovich now? The £448million Eclipse yacht, that Abramovich bought in 2010 has been cruising in the Caribbean Sea near the British Virgin Islands for the past week.

  9. Chelsea owner Abramovich's luxury yacht docks in Turkey

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A yacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in Turkey's Aegean Sea resort of Bodrum, Turkish media reports ...

  10. Roman Abramovich assets: the cars, houses, yachts

    Cars. The fleet of cars owned by Abramovich is just as flashy, with a total estimated value of £16m, the Sun reported. His vehicles include a £2.5m Pagani Zonda R, a £1.7m Porsche 911 GT1 Evo ...

  11. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's new £430million superyacht nears

    The Chelsea owner also has the Eclipse and has had five other yachts, including including the 162ft Sussurro, the 282ft Ecstasea, the Luna and the Pelorus, each 377ft, and the 371ft Grand Bleu.. Abramovich's current yacht is actually a little bigger with the Eclipse measuring 533 ft, but the new model has plenty to offer, including two high-tech Azipod engines, which provide excellent ...

  12. Superyachts tracked: Abramovich's boat heads east after sanctions

    First published on Thu 10 Mar 2022 08.52 EST. Roman Abramovich's superyacht Solaris was heading east across the Mediterranean on Thursday after sanctions were extended to the Chelsea FC owner ...

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    Abramovich had already announced his intention to sell Chelsea before the UK sanctions, with a host of potential buyers declaring their interest in a club that have won 19 major trophies since he ...

  14. Chelsea owner Abramovich's luxury yacht docks in Turkey

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  15. Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich buys a £288m yacht

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  16. Roman Abramovich's luxury yachts, from Chelsea owner's new £430m

    Roman Abramovich's new yacht Solaris is currently in development Credit: Carl Groll/TheYachtPhoto.com 16 Solaris, costing £460m, will have 48 cabins and can accommodate 36 passengers Credit: Carl ...

  17. Roman Abramovich

    Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich (Russian: Роман Аркадьевич Абрамович, pronounced [rɐˈman ɐrˈkadʲjɪvʲɪtɕ ɐbrɐˈmovʲɪtɕ]; born 24 October 1966) is a Russian oligarch and politician. He is the former owner of Chelsea, a Premier League football club in London, England, and is the primary owner of the private investment company Millhouse.

  18. Chelsea owner Abramovich's luxury yacht docks in Turkey

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    Before Eclipse became a prized possession of Roman Abramovich, it was this 112.8-metre luxury yacht which was the finest in his collection. Built in 2000 by now-bankrupt German shipbuilder Bremer Vulkan, it has 10 guest cabins which can house 20 guests. It has a crew of 35 supporting operations.

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