St. Barts’ economy runs on funds from the ultra-rich like oligarch Abramovich

  • Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich owns a $90 million mansion on the Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy.
  • Known as St. Barts, the island’s economy relies on tourism from ultra-wealthy visitors like Abramovich.
  • Since facing UK and EU sanctions, locals have defended Abramovich, calling him a “beautiful person”.

As he faces mounting sanctions, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s reputation is defended by unlikely supporters: the residents of the Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy.

“For more than a decade, locals and staff have become extremely wealthy themselves by doing favors for” Abramovich and other ultra-wealthy patrons, an unnamed St. Barths resident told Forbes. “They don’t want it to end.”

Known as St. Barths, the island’s economy relies on tourist funds from ultra-wealthy visitors like Abramovich, who has owned a $90 million mansion on the island since 2009. While he does in the face of mounting UK and EU sanctions, including more than $7 billion in assets, islanders described him as “a beautiful person” and defended his presence on the island as a positive element.

Abramovich, once called Russia’s most charitable billionaire, has a history of making large donations, including to the Israel Holocaust Museum and a nanotechnology research center at Tel Aviv University.

In St. Barths, he paid $4 million to rebuild the local soccer stadium in 2010, paid for renovations after a hurricane in 2017, and funded repairs to a saltwater pond important to the local ecosystem. reported Forbes.

Patrice Abderraham, a private chef who has worked for the oligarch on several occasions, told Forbes he thinks France and the EU were misguided in sanctioning Abramovich: ‘They put everyone in the same basket’ , did he declare. “I hope everything goes well for him.”

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