Chelsea FC owner, Abramovich, buys big again
Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich, is in the final stages of buying a 1920s mansion overlooking Central Park in Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side for a record-breaking $75m (N12bn), media reports said.
Abramovich has reportedly signed a contract to buy the 9,720 square foot, or 903 square meter, six-story home that is currently divided into three units, real estate website, Trulia reported.
If Abramovich seals the deal, the $75m price tag would set a new record sale price for a co-op (apartment building) in New York, outstripping the $54m (N8.64bn) paid by music and movie mogul, David Geffen, last year for another Fifth Avenue property.
The Manhattan property that Abramovich is reportedly poised to buy was acquired in 2005 by British real estate developer, Howard Ronson, who wanted to turn it back into the single-family mansion that it was in the 1920s, when it was built for coal magnate, Edward Berwind.
But Ronson died in 2007, and his family put the property on the market last year for $72m (N11.52bn).
Abramovich and his longtime girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova, have been looking at real estate in New York for the past year, the New York Post reported.
The 47-year-old Russian tycoon, who began life as an orphan, is also said to own an eight-story property in London’s Lowndes Square, several other residences around the world, and what used to be the world’s biggest yacht until it was eclipsed this year by the Emir of Abu Dhabi’s super yacht.
How Chelsea’s rich owner, Abramovich spends his money
Russian Business tycoon and owner of Chelsea Football Club, popularly called ‘Baba Olowo’ by Lagos football lovers, Roman Abramovich, leads a flamboyant lifestyle much like a modern-day emperor.
If wealthy individuals could be categorised into rich and super-rich, then Abramovich would easily belong to the latter. According to Forbes, Abramovich’s net worth was estimated at $10.2bn (N1.63tn) as at March 2013, down from $12.1bn the previous year.
Born into a Jewish family, Abramovich, 47, was orphaned by age four. His mother, Irina Vasilevna, was a musician and his father, Arkady Abramovich, worked as a supplier at a construction trust in Syktyvkar, former USSR. Irina died from bacteremia as a result of a back-alley abortion when he was one year old. His father Arkady Abramovich was killed in an incident on a construction site when Roman was three years old.
As a result, Abramovich grew up in his uncle’s family in Ukhta and with his grandmother, Tatyana Semenovna in Moscow.
The Russian is popularly known outside of Russia as the owner of Chelsea FC in the English Premier League, however, Chelsea is just the tip of the iceberg. The fortune of the Chelsea owner includes several properties that are worth more than “Chelsea” in different parts of the world, including Russia, Britain and France. Besides real estate and sports, Abramovich is known for his taste for all the finer things in life.
Abramovich started his multi-billion-dollar business during his army service. After a brief stint in the Soviet Army, he married his first wife, Olga Lysova. He first worked as a street trader and then as a mechanic at a local factory.
He attended the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas in Moscow, where he sold retreaded car tires on the side and traded commodities for Runicom, a Swiss trading company.
In 1988, Abramovich got a chance to legitimise his old business. He and Olga set up a company making dolls. Due to his business acumen, within a few years his wealth spread from oil conglomerates to pig farms and he also started investing in other businesses.
Abramovich was the governor of Russian Far Easter region of Chukotka, from 2000 to 2008.
However, Abramovich’s source of wealth has been mired in controversy. In 1992, he was arrested and sent to prison in a case of theft of government property. The case was later closed but by 1995, he and former business colleague, Berezovsky, acquired a controlling interest in the giant Soviet oil company, Sibneft, under controversial circumstances.
In 2008, The Times reported that Abramovich admitted that he paid billions of dollars for political favours and protection fees to obtain a big share of Russia’s oil and aluminum assets as was shown by court papers obtained by the media house.
Currently, Abramovich is divorced. His first marriage to Olga lasted three years- between 1987 and 1990. Abramovich remarried in 1991 to Irina Malandina, but was divorced again in 2007. Irina was paid a settlement of $300m (N48bn) following the divorce. He is now with girlfriend, Daria Zhukoya, who has had two children with him.
However, Abramovich is regarded as the world’s greatest spender on luxury yachts, having been linked to five yachts in what the media have called “Abramovich’s Navy’.
Until early 2013, Abramovich was the owner of the world’s biggest yacht, named, Eclipse, which stood at 533ft. He was knocked off the top of the super yacht league table, a position he held for three years, by United Arab Emirates President and Emir Of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 65, who recently acquired a 590ft vessel, Azzam.
Eclipse was said to have cost the Russian billionaire around $30m in 2010. The Eclipse takes close to $50m (N8bn) each year to keep it running and single re-fueling costs around $650,000 (N104m) each time. With a crew of up to 60 persons, two swimming pools, two helipads, the Eclipse is considered as a giant of the sea.
The yacht is fortified with advanced technology and has been embedded from all possible angles with the armor plating, bullet proof windows, advanced missile detection system and a provision to escape via submarine located at the bottom end of the yacht.
Abramovich also has a Boeing 767, called ‘The Bandit’ and was the first owner of a private Airbus A340, largest personal plane ever built. His plane is reported to have a gym, Turkish bath, conference rooms, Jacuzzi, bar and a restaurant.
He also owns three Eurocopter helicopters EC-145, EC-135T1 and EC-155B. One of these helicopters is found on one of his yachts and another at Blackbushe airport. He has homes in London, France, St. Barts, Colorado and Los Angeles.
In 2003, Abramovich bought Chelsea FC for over $200m (N32bn), with an agreement that covered the club’s debts.
With Cars like Ferrari FXX, Porsche Carrera GT (Modified), Bugatti Veryron, Maserati MC12 Corsa, Maybach 62 limousines, Ferrari 360 in his garage, Abramovish easily qualifies as a lover of suoer luxury cars.