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Chelsea owner Abramovich funded Israeli settlers in occupied territory

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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been embroiled in a scandal on the international media after leaked documents have shown that companies in which he had majority shareholding donated tens of millions of dollars to Isreali settler groups accused of displacing Palestinian families from Jerusalem.

The billionaire Russian oligarch, who was granted Israeli citizenship two years ago, is known to be a major philantropist in Israel, donating significant sums to research and development projects and investing in local forms.

However, BBC News Arabic reported that four companies he either owns or controls in the British Virgin Islands have contributed more than $100m (£74m) to Elad, a group that supports settlements in the Palestinian neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem called Silwan.

Those figures would mean the British football club owner was the biggest single donor over the past 15 years to Elad, a Hebrew word which means “God’s eternal faith”, it added.

The group, which also receives backing from the Israeli government, has sought to strengthen the Jewish presence in the neighbourhood of Silwan at the expense of its Arab residents. EU diplomats have criticised these settelments.

BBC News Arabic discovered the Abramovich donations while trawling through thousands of leaked documents related to suspicious activity reports filed with the US government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) which are beign investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Read more via The Guardian

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