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