£2.35bn net proceeds set to go to charity

Todd Boehly’s purchase of Chelsea FC from Roman Abramovich is set to generate £2.35bn for victims of the war in Ukraine, the watchdog for sanctions in the UK has said.

Abramovich put the club up for sale in early March before being hit by the measures from the British government – a result of his close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin – with the £4.25bn sale eventually going through in May.

The former Chelsea owner had pledged that all proceeds from the sale would go to charities supporting the victims of the war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February.

According to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), net proceeds which make up more than half of that sum are currently frozen in a UK bank account.

With the sanctions in place, the government had to ensure none of the profits would go to oligarch Abramovich, while the club was also unable to generate revenue through ticket sales or any other means.

Speaking to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, OFSI deputy director Christopher Watts said: “We had to understand who the buyers were, where the money was going, make absolutely sure that none of it was able to get near a designated person [Abramovich], what the net proceeds would be that were going to charity and then make sure that those were frozen in a UK account awaiting the move to charitable causes.

“The net proceeds, which are frozen in an account awaiting the next step which is to try and establish the charitable vehicle to let those funds go to Ukraine, are £2.35 billion.”

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