Israel's Holocaust museum urges US not to sanction Russian donor Roman Abramovich

Israel's Holocaust museum urges US not to sanction Russian donor Roman Abramovich
Israel's Holocaust museum, alongside a chief rabbi and other Israeli organisations, wrote a letter to the US urging it not to sanction Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich because it would harm Jewish institutions.
2 min read
05 March, 2022
Abramovich made an eight-figure donation to the museum just a few weeks ago, according to local media [source: Getty]

Israel's official Holocaust museum has urged the US not to sanction Roman Abramovich ahead of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine because the Russian oligarch was one of their biggest donors. 

Chairman of the Yad Vashem museum Dani Dayan signed a joint letter - dated February 6 - to Tom Nides, the US ambassador to Israel, calling for the billionaire to be excluded from financial punishments amid threats of a planned Russian attack on Ukraine. 

Abramovich, who was born into a Jewish family and amassed a fortune of $12.4 billion largely by selling previously Russian state-owned assets, was the museum’s second-largest private donor. 

Just a few weeks ago, Yad Vashem and Ambramovich announced a new partnership to fund research and establish new projects with the billionaire handing over an eight-figure donation, the Times of Israel reported.

"Mr Abramvoich has contributed to worthy causes for more than a decade," Dayan said. "As far as I know, Mr Abramovich doesn’t have any links to Mr Putin."

The billionaire donated more than $500 million in recent years to Israeli and "Jewish causes", Times of Israel said.

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He has been embroiled in controversy following Russia's invasion of Ukraine given his alleged links to the Kremlin. 

Abramovich was one of Putin’s early supporters and recommended him for the top Kremlin job to Boris Yeltsin, according to the Guardian. 

So far he has not been placed on sanctions lists by the West. 

Nevertheless, the Russian confirmed this week that he would sell his stake in football club Chelsea FC. The news came alongside reports that Abramovich was trying to sell property in London. 

Pundits believe the unexpected sales were a way to avoid impending financial penalties.

Yet, British media reported on Thursday that Abramovich may not be sanctioned for "weeks and months" because the government has been able to build a case against him. 

Other organisations who signed the joint letter to Nides include chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau and Sheba Medical Center Director Yitshak Kreiss. The letter stressed that sanctioning Abramovich would harm Jewish institutions.