Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, announced on Thursday the suspension of ties with Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich.
Less than two weeks ago, the Israeli museum signed a partnership agreement with the billionaire, who pledged to donate tens of millions of dollars over the next five years to enrich Yad Vashem’s world-renowned International Institute for Holocaust Research.
“In light of recent developments, Yad Vashem has decided to suspend the strategic partnership with Mr. Roman Abramovich,” the museum said in a statement.
The museum was supposed to use the funding from Abramovich for the establishment of a new home for the International Research Institute on Yad Vashem’s Mount of Remembrance campus, as well as for the expansion of ‘The Book of Names’ memorial project for victims of the Holocaust. Yad Vashem did not specify what would become of the donation.
The decision to halt ties with the billionaire comes after the United Kingdom announced that Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs set to be hit with new sanctions over their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The restrictions include a travel ban on Abramovich, as well as freezing of his assets.
One of Abramovich’s assets is the Chelsea Football Club. Under the fresh sanctions, the club cannot sell merchandise or tickets for games, nor buy or sell players. Abramovich recently announced that he decided to sell Chelsea FC, but now the sale has been put on hold.
Abramovich, who is Jewish and holds Israeli citizenship, has made several donations to local causes and to the fight against anti-Semitism. The UK government said it was sanctioning him due to his “preferential treatment and concessions from Putin.”
According to the BBC, Abramovich denies having any such ties to the Russian president and the Kremlin.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.