December 6, 2023

Secret in Cyprus: Data leak reveals the relationship between Abramovich and Putin

The Cyprus Confidential research project revealed that Chelsea’s former owner, Roman Abramovich, left shares in the company to those close to Putin.


The international research project “Cyprus Confidential” documents the financial links between oligarch Roman Abramovich and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The investigation into a massive leak of confidential financial data from Cyprus revealed, among other things, that the former owner of Chelsea Football Club had left company shares worth around 37 million euros to two of Putin’s close associates. One of Putin’s friends is cellist Sergei Roldugin, who has already appeared in the Panama Papers.

Until recently, Abramovich confirmed that he had no contacts with Putin.

Secret payments to Chelsea players

The Russian oligarch is also said to have used a network of front companies to make secret payments to people around Chelsea FC players and coaches, thus circumventing UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.

President Nikos Christodoulides announced that he would closely investigate the revealed machinations of a Russian minority in his country.

“No one is above Cyprus’ reputation,” Christodoulides told the press.

“Many initiatives have been taken over the years. After the new government came to power and after the US and British sanctions, we have tightened the legal framework. Any allegation that appears in the press will be investigated, and it will happen soon. The President of Cyprus continued.

German journalist funded by Russia

The global investigation, in which several media companies participated, is based on more than 3.6 million financial documents from the period from 1990 to 2022. It reveals how sanctioned Russian oligarchs used shell companies in Cyprus to exert their influence in the European Union. About a hundred Russian citizens belong to the network.

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The name of award-winning German journalist and Russia expert Hubert Seibel also appears in the search. Accordingly, he received hundreds of thousands of euros from Russia for book projects. Seibel has already confirmed that he has received “support” from Russia. But this did not affect his independence.