Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich reportedly has a large shareholding in the Russian steelmaking firm whose materials experts say are used to make the military tanks that are invading Ukraine.
The Russian billionaire owner transferred his shares in EVRAZ, the Russian steelmaking giant, directly to himself from an offshore company on February 16, eight days before Vladimir Putin ordered the Ukraine invasion.
Analysts have told Sportsmail that the transfer of the 28.64 percent shareholding, from Virgin Islands-registered Greenleas International Holdings Ltd, could make it less vulnerable to the sanctions which have followed the invasion. It could also make the shareholding easier to sell. The value of the shares have plummeted since Putin’s forces attacked Ukraine.
Grzegorz Kuczy?ski, director of the Eurasia Program at the Warsaw Institute, told Sportsmail: ‘There was a risk that this offshore company would become a subject of sanctions. Evraz steel is used to build tanks, amongst other things. The company is important for the Russian arms industry, in this sense. It is important for Russia’s war plans, including with regard to Ukraine.’
But the view from the ground in Kyiv on Tuesday was that the exercise is entirely futile, because there is simply no common ground between the invading and invaded country.
Russia is demanding international recognition of Crimea, the retention of all lands it has occupied in this invasion and the replacement of the Ukrainian government. None of these demands are remotely acceptable to Ukraine.
Ukraine wants Russian troops out of its country and an exchange of POWs and dead troops. But Russia does not recognise that there are POWs and dead troops to swap.
Abramovich announced on Saturday that ‘stewardship and care’ of Chelsea was being given to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation
But Sportsmail understands that the six trustees will insist on a rock-solid insurance policy before agreeing to the 55-year-old’s plan, with a number of them still extremely apprehensive about accepting stewardship at all.
One of the main conditions trustees would insist on is the inclusion of a robust indemnity insurance policy, to ensure they are not liable for any financial ramifications the club may suffer while they are put in charge.
Chelsea are aware of the problems they may face in convincing trustees and are thought to be exploring other options, including a holding company being set-up to take on stewardship responsibilities instead.