Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, has reportedly donated half a billion dollars to Jewish causes in Russia and around the world over the past 20 years.
Worth an estimated $11.5 billion, Abramovich owns stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel, as well as a 533-foot yacht, which he bought for nearly $400 million in 2010. He sold a 73 percent stake in Sibneft to state-owned gas giant Gazprom for $13 billion in 2005, having purchased the Soviet oil company in 1995 for $100.3 million.
Abramovich serves as chairman on the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia board of trustees. He was ranked top Russian philanthropist in 2013 for donating $52 million to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR), among other causes.
“Much of the work we do has been made possible thanks to Mr. Abramovich,” FJCR president Rabbi Alexander Boroda was quoted as saying to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. The association recognized Abramovich for his contributions as part of its 20-year anniversary in 2019, the newspaper said.
Boroda estimated that the billionaire’s financial donations accounted for 80 percent of the federation’s activities at 160 FJCR communities in Russia.
“He never talks about it but I want to because people don’t understand who is the source,” Boroda was quoted as saying.