The chairman of Chelsea football club, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, withdrew an application for a residence permit in Switzerland, after the federal police decided that his long-term presence could be “a threat to public security” and “a reputational risk for Switzerland”.
According to the Swiss daily newspaper La Tribune de Geneve Swiss Federal Police (Fedpol), consulted by the State Secretariat for Migration, issued a negative opinion on Abramovich’s 2016 residence application saying that he was known “for suspicions of money laundering and alleged contacts with criminal organisations”.
The billionaire’s lawyer, Daniel Glasl, called the allegations “totally false,” saying he wanted to focus now “on identifying the sources of these allegations” and that he was ready to pursue “those who transmitted this information”.
Mr Abramovich wanted to settle in the luxurious alpine resort of Verbier, in the canton of Valais in south-west Switzerland.
“The SEM (State Secretariat for Migration), after analyzing the file, was going to take a negative decision but the representatives of Mr Abramovich, have, prior to a negative decision, removed the request of their client,” according to AFP.
The Swiss Federal Police is empowered to “provide administrative assistance to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)” in “the process of granting residence permits,” Fedpol told AFP in an email.
According to the BBC Mr Abramovich’s lawyer Daniel Glasl, said he was extremely disappointed by the publication of confidential information from Swiss government files.
The legal team had filed a request for correction of facts to the police and would be filing a criminal complaint regarding dissemination of the information, he said.
As noted by the Guardian ”the allegations are not based on any court rulings, and the oligarch has never been indicted in Switzerland. They are based on police information which cannot be easily verified, and Abramovich is entitled to be presumed innocent.”