Russian oligarch and Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich has denied going cap in hand to wealthy US friends for financial help as the impact of state sanctions starts to bite.
His spokesman made the statement after reports emerged in the US claiming that Putin’s former confidante was begging rich contacts including Hollywood director Brett Ratner for £765,000 ($980,000) loans to help him pay his staff after being sanctioned by London and Washington.
The Chelsea Football Club owner, who has been accused in Britain of being a close ally of Putin, had reportedly asked for huge loans from his celebrity friends to maintain his staff, who were said to be costing him £600,000 a week.
Abramovich’s spokesperson denied there was any truth to the report, which was first broken by media outlet Page Six, and insisted they had not been approached for comment.
The spokesperson told radio station City AM that Abramovich had ‘not spoken with, nor asked for funds from these individuals’.
‘We have contacted the originating source Page Six as they did not reach out to us prior to publication,’ they added.
Page Six alleged that Rush Hour director Ratner was among those Abramovich asked, along with members of the Rothschild family as well as other contacts in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. The oligarch was said to have made approaches after his assets in Britain and the US were seized last month. No one is thought to have agreed to give him the money.
A source told the website: ‘Roman is asking some of his closest powerful friends to let him borrow $1million. He is saying he has never missed payroll for his staff, which is $750,000 a week, and with his assets frozen, he can’t pay his people.
‘He has reached out to Hollywood producer and director Brett Ratner and the Rothschild family, among many others, for money, but – while they are good friends with Roman – they have not agreed to give him money, because either they do not have that in liquid cash, or moreover it is not clear what are the repercussions under international law.’