Story By: Lisa-Maria Goertz, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
Lisa football club owner Roman Abramovich has donated 79 million GBP to an Israeli settler organisation that is buying up homes in Palestinian neighbourhoods, according to leaked documents shared online.
According to national newspaper Times of Israel, the information comes from leaked FinCEN documents which were sent to 108 different media outlets.
The documents show how various companies that Abramovich owns gave almost 350 million NIS (79 million GBP) to the organisation Elad, which operates in occupied East Jerusalem.
Elad, which runs archaeological digs and sites, controversially purchased properties in the predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a city in the middle east which both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim as their capital.
Elad has bought properties in the neighbourhood, often with Muslim middlemen, to then occupy with Jewish tenants to increase the Jewish presence, according to Times of Israel.
This settlement activity is considered by some to be fuelling tension in the city and is reportedly considered a breach of international law, a view which Israel rejects.
The documents reportedly detail how the money was donated by four British Virgin Islands companies, whose ownership was previously anonymous.
The report has revealed that three of them are owned by Abramovich, while the fourth is controlled by him.
According to the Hebrew daily newspaper Haaretz, the donations represented half of Elad’s funding between 2005 and 2018, during which time Abramovich was their biggest contributor.
A spokesperson for Abramovich said: “Mr Abramovich is a committed and generous supporter of Israeli and Jewish civil society, and over the past 20 years he has donated over five hundred million dollars to support healthcare, science, education and Jewish communities in Israel and around the world.”
Elad’s flagship project was the renovation of the City of David archaeological park, which lies just outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem.
According to Forbes, Abramovich is worth 12.2 billion USD (9.5 billion GBP) and is the 113th richest person in the world.
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