Swiss Police Stop Abramovich Over Money Laundering
Switzerland’s federal police advised that the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich posed a “threat to public security and a reputational risk” to the country if he became a resident, The Guardian reports.
The Chelsea owner on Tuesday lost a seven-month legal battle against a newspaper publisher to prevent the publication of information on the reasons for his failure to secure Swiss residency.
The battle between Abramovich and the Zurich publisher Tamedia began in February after the group obtained details of a letter written by police, who were asked by the state migration secretariat to give their view on whether the oligarch should be allowed to move to the canton of Valais.
Abramovich, who owns a £90m mansion in London, had applied for Swiss residency in 2016, hoping to make the exclusive ski resort of Verbier his official home.
However, after a detailed review of the files concerning one of the world’s richest men, police raised a number of concerns. According to Tamedia, police reported that Abramovich was known for “suspicion of money laundering and presumed contacts with criminal organisations”.
"They also asserted that there was reason to believe that “the applicant’s assets are at least partially of illegal origin”.
Abramovich’s lawyer Daniel Glasl has responded to the explosive allegations by filing a request for correction of facts to the federal police. He said he planned to file a criminal complaint against whoever disseminated the information.
“Any suggestion that Abramovich has been involved in money laundering or has contacts with criminal organisations is entirely false. Abramovich has never been charged with participating in money laundering and does not have a criminal record. He has never had, or been alleged to have, connections with criminal organisations.”
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.
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