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Documents reveal that former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich secretly bankrolled Vitesse

Leaked documents show that former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich secretly backed the takeover of Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem, according to The Guardian.

The Netherlands football association had already investigated the ties between Vitesse and Abramovich twice without discovering any financial interdependence.

They concluded that the Russian oligarch did not have any impact on the Dutch club.

Under Abramovich’s ownership, Chelsea and Vitesse denied that the 56-year-old was funding the Eredivisie.

The leaked documents that prove otherwise came to light from the Oligarch files. The data originates from Cyprus-based offshore service provider, MeritServus.

The documents reveal at least €117 million (£102.8 million) in secret funding from Abramovich for the Vitesse takeover. It flowed through several entities registered in blurred offshore tax havens.

Former Georgian footballer Merab Jordania led the Vitesse takeover in 2010, and there were soon suspicions about links to Chelsea.

Jordania described Abramovich as a friend in the inaugural press conference but claimed he was not involved in the takeover.

Chelsea used Vitesse as a launchpad for the careers of several players, working as partner clubs to give players experience.

Nemanja Matic, Mason Mount, Armando Broja, Dominic Solanke, Patrick van Aanholt, Christian Atsu, Tomas Kalas and many others went to the Eredivisie club on loan.

The takeover received further scrutiny when Jordania left in 2013. Another Abramovich associate, Alexander Chigirinsky, took over.

Vitesse said the Russian businessman had been involved with the club since the 2010 takeover.

In April 2014, Jordania mistakenly let slip connections between Chelsea and Vitesse, saying, ‘London didn’t want that’ in an interview. He later withdrew the comment.

UEFA rules require clubs that play against each other to be independently owned and run to ensure the competition’s integrity.

They also state that no individual or legal entity should control or influence more than one club participating in a UEFA competition.

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