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Words in the News
 
Wednesday 02 July 2003
 
Russian businessman buys Chelsea football club
 
Chelsea players Chelsea football club has been bought by a Russian oil tycoon, Roman Abramovich, for a hundred million dollars. He has agreed to pay off the club's debts of another hundred million dollars. But who is Mr Abramovich? And where did he get his money from? This report from Nikolai Gorshkov:
 
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Roman Abramovich is probably the most elusive of all Russian oligarchs - a group of a dozen people who among them own most of Russia's wealth. Not much is known about him. He's thirty-six years old, governs the vast barren region of Chukotka, across the straits from Alaska, sits in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, and now owns Chelsea Football Club.

He's made his fortune, which at about five billion dollars is believed to be the second largest in Russia, through controversial privatisation deals in the country's oil and aluminium industries. He was investigated for shady dealings but nothing came out of it. He was introduced into the murky world of Russia's big business by Boris Berezovsky, one of the first tycoons, who enjoyed the trust of the former president, Boris Yeltsin. Mr Abramovich then went on to become a closest confidant of Mr Yeltsin's family. And he survived the wrath of President Putin who pushed his business partner Berezovsky into exile in London.

Mr Abramovich himself set up a base in London. Through a UK-registered company he owns large stakes in many lucrative businesses in Russia. Just recently he sold off his shares in the Russian airline Aeroflot for over a hundred million dollars, the money he might have used to buy Chelsea. His move is the latest in a series of large acquisitions made by Russian business tycoons abroad. They may be trying to protect their rich pickings, but this is also in line with President Putin's ambition to see Russian business as a truly international player.

Nikolai Gorshkov, BBC, Moscow
 
 
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oligarchs
 
members of a small group of people who control and run a particular country or organisation
 
shady dealings
 
slightly dishonest buying and selling in business - here, shady is an informal use
 
nothing came out of it
 
there were no results, nothing was found
 
murky
 
here, something that is suspected of being dishonest or morally wrong
 
tycoons
 
people who have been successful in business and who have become rich and powerful as a result
 
base
 
headquarters; a centre of activity
 
stakes
 
shares - if you have a stake in something its success matters to you because you own a large part of it
 
lucrative
 
profit-making; a lucrative business or activity which earns you a lot of money
 
rich pickings
 
large profits; money that can be made easily in a particular place
 
in line with
 
in accordance with, in agreement with
 
 
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