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Roman Abramovich

Roman Abramovich is a Russian oil billionaire, referred to in Russia as one of the oligarchs.

In 2003 he became the owner of the companies that control Chelsea Football Club in England. Since he took control, Chelsea (now termed Chelski by England tabloids) has gone on a buying spree of some of the game's most skilled players. The result has been near-instant success, with Chelsea beginning the 2003-2004 season at or near the top of the Premiership and doing well in the prestigious Champions League competition.

The move into football is seen as a diversification of his commercial interests out of Russia. The merger of Sibneft with Yukos is seen by most as a distancing of himself from Russia, at a time when the Kremlin appears to have decided to bring at least some of the oligarchs to account for their colourful past business practices. Abramovich is a close associate of controversial Boris Berezovsky who sold him his stake in Sibneft. Berezovsky fled to London before being charged with fraud and corruption by Russian authorities.

Abramovich is also the governor of the remote region of Chukotka within Russia, where he has pumped in hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the area.