Roman Abramovich has not been arrested in New York, his agent said today denying recent reports the Russian billionaire had been detained by U.S. intelligence services.
Speculation was rife online this afternoon that the Chelsea football club owner had been detained by the FBI in New York.
The claims were initially made by a Russian news website before being circulated on Twitter.
However, Roman Abramovich’s Moscow-based agent John Mann said the reports were “not true”.
“He is in the US, but he has not been arrested or detained.”
The FBI has also issued a denial.
“We didn’t arrest him. It’s just not true,” an FBI spokeswoman said in response to an unsourced report by Russia’s RBK financial news portal.
Roman Abramovich, 46, has reportedly docked his $1.5 billion yacht Eclipse, the world’s biggest, in New York because his partner Dasha Zhukova is due to give birth to his seventh child.
London-listed steel firm Evraz shares, which have fallen 45pc over the past year, slid 5% at one stage in early afternoon trading before clawing back lost ground after the rumor was denied.
Roman Abramovich is a major shareholder in Evraz, whose shares fell by more than 6% before recovering to trade 3.4% down on the day after the denials were issued.
The London-based tycoon, reputed to have close ties to the Kremlin, was brought in late last year to strike a peace deal between the feuding shareholders in Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel and palladium miner.
With an estimated fortune of $14.6 billion, he is currently the 5th richest person in Russia and the 50th in the world, according to the 2012 Forbes list.
Born into poverty in Saratov, Russia, Roman Abramovich was orphaned at the age of two and raised by his uncle in Ukhta.
As a student in Moscow, Roman Abramovich set up a small firm making plastic toys which made him enough money to start an oil business in the Omsk region.
He quickly made a name for himself and joined the board on oil giant Sibneft before taking sole charge.
Roman Abramovich oversaw a merger which created the fourth-biggest oil company in the world before it was sold to the state-run gas company, Gazprom.
In 1999, Roman Abramovich was elected to the lower house of the Russian parliament representing Chukotka and was re-elected for a second term in 2005.
He bought Chelsea in 2003 after stepping in to save the club from administration.
The team has enjoyed considerable success since, winning six domestic cups, three Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League.
It is estimated that Roman Abramovich has invested some $1 billion in the process.
Along the way, he has also built a reputation as a ruthless hirer and firer, with several managers coming and going during his tenure.
The latest, Roberto Di Matteo, was sacked just months after winning the Champions league and FA Cup.
Last year, Roman Abramovich won a multi-billion-pound High Court battle with fellow oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who was found dead at his Ascot home on March 23.
Boris Berezovsky, 66, once worth £2 billion ($3 billion), had alleged that Roman Abramovich blackmailed and intimidated him into selling cheaply his share in a Russian oil company, but the High Court rejected his £3.2 billion damages claim.
Boris Berezovsky’s death is still “unexplained” according to police after his body was discovered by a bodyguard on the bathroom floor of his mansion in Ascot, Berkshire, on Saturday.
He apparently left no note and skeptical friends are convinced he was murdered because “suicide was not in his DNA”.
Roman Abramovich already has two sons and three daughters with his ex-wife Irina Vyacheslavovna Malandina and one with Dasha Zhukova.
The Russian tycoon, who has been married and divorced twice, met Dasha Zhukova, the daughter of Russian oligarch Alexander Zhukov at a New Year’s Eve party hosted by her father in 2006.
But apparently romance did not blossom between the two until he had split from second wife Irina Vyacheslavovna Malandina after 16 years of marriage.
Their divorce ended in a record settlement rumored to be £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) made by Roman Abramovich to the mother of his five children.