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Abramovich quits local Russian parliament

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ROMAN-ABRAMOVICHMOSCOW, Russia, July 2 – Russian billionaire and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich on Tuesday quit his seat on the parliament of the far northern Chukotka region because of a new law banning officials from owning foreign property.

Abramovich’s spokesman John Mann said the tycoon still intended to spend some of his time in the region because it relied heavily on his two charity funds.

Abramovich was Chukotka governor from 2001 to 2008.

He later joined the local parliament after asking Russian leaders for permission to give up his governor’s post.

Analysts said at the time that Abramovich was doing the Kremlin a favour — and hoping for favourable treatment in return — by picking up the economic reins of a troubled and distant region that enjoyed little support from Moscow.

But a new law aimed at cutting the ties between big business and government now forbids officials from owning foreign property — a condition Abramovich is simply unable to meet.

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