Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of England's Chelsea soccer team, was sworn in Friday for a new five-year term as governor of the Russian Far East region of Chukotka. Before the ceremony, the regional legislature voted to confirm Abramovich's appointment, which Russian President Vladimir Putin had proposed.
Abramovich acquired vast oil holdings in shadowy privatization deals in the 1990s. But unlike Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for tax evasion and fraud, Abramovich is thought to show unswerving loyalty to the Kremlin.
State-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom has announced it will buy Sibneft, the oil company Abramovich controls, for US$13 billion.