Roman Abramovich applies for Swiss residence permit
Roman Abramovich, the Evraz majority shareholder and a billionaire filed a petition for a residence permit in the canton of Valais as early as 2016, according to Swiss media. The businessman withdrew it later, but appealed with the same request once again in November 2017.
Abramovich appealed to the Swiss authorities requesting a residence permit in the canton of Valais in July 2016, according to two Swiss publications, Le Matin Dimanche and Sonntags Zeitung.
As one can see from the request, Abramovich was willing to settle in the municipality of Bagnes that includes the Verbier ski resort. He submitted the application to the municipality administration, as well as to the Population and Migration Service in the canton of Valais. Both publications got the information confirmed by Bagnes, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) and the Federal Police. "Given his financial resources, we would be very interested in him as a taxpayer, both the municipality and the country. We gave a positive response," said Jacques Delavallaz, Valais Migration Department chief, as quoted by Le Matin Dimanche.
Le Matin Dimanche and Sonntags Zeitung state further that it looks like Abramovich was going to get a residence permit, having negotiated with the authorities on the payment of the so-called lump sum, or flat tax: when an individual pays for expenses rather than for income.
However, Abramovich withdrew his residence permit application in June 2017. The newspapers do not disclose the reasons why he might have taken the decision. The businessman asked the Zurich commercial court to ban newspapers from disclosing the situation details, and the court sided with him on February 2. "Our editorial board will continue to fight for the right to disclose the information that, in our opinion, is of public interest," Le Matin Dimanche wrote.
In November 2017, Abramovich sent a personal appeal to Nicoletta della Valle, the chief of the Federal Police. His two-page letter reveals his intention to renew the residence permit application in the canton of Valais. This information was confirmed in the State Secretariat for Migration and the Federal Police. The answer was sent to Abramovich in December 2017, though it was not della Valle that signed the letter, but her authorized lawyer. As Sonntags Zeitung notes, court prohibited disclosure of the details of the reply letter. However, the publication did convey the general idea: Abramovich was told a withdrawn request could not be "unfrozen"; besides, the Federal Police does not deal with issues like that. The lawyer only suggested that the Russian businessman submit a new application form to the migration department of the canton. According to the publications, Abramovich has not filed the petition yet.
John Mann representing Millhouse (the company managing Abramovich's assets) told Le Matin Dimanche that he preferred not to comment on the businessman’s personal affairs. Abramovich’s spokesperson also declined to give a comment to RBC.
As Le Matin Dimanche wrote citing the State Secretariat for Migration, over the past ten years, Switzerland issued 578 permissions to stay to foreigners "on the basis of public interest". 186 of the permissions were given to Russians. Turks followed with 37.
Roman Abramovich with a fortune of $9.1 billion ranks 12th in Forbes list of 200 richest businessmen of Russia. Abramovich’s key asset is 31% in the Evraz Group. The businessman also owns 24% of Channel One, a small package of Norilsk Nickel and the Chelsea Football Club.