Roman's a tees in S'pore

Was Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich casually hanging out in Singapore over the weekend?

The Internet was buzzing with this question after two photos surfaced of a man who looks like the 47-year-old oil tycoon posing with locals in Singapore.

One photo showing him and a local at a hawker centre, which was apparently taken and uploaded on Sunday, has gone viral. The photo was posted on the Hardwarezone forum, shared on Twitter multiple times and even shared on the Official Chelsea FC Supporters' Club Singapore's Facebook page.

But by far, the place with the most attention drawn to the photo is the SGAG Facebook page.

As of last night, the photo there, in which the face of the Singaporean was covered with another image, had garnered nearly 1,200 likes and 118 comments.

While the fact that Mr Abramovich might be here would generate talk from football fans, what really had people talking was where the photo that went viral was taken and what the Chelsea owner was wearing.

The photo shows him in a simple white T-shirt, in front of a kueh stall on the second storey of Tiong Bahru Market, looking more like a local living two blocks away than a Russian billionaire.

Chelsea fan Nazri Eddy, 23, an undergraduate told The New Paper: "It really looks like him, but what would he be doing in Singapore? Plus his outfit makes it even more unbelievable. Perhaps it's just a look-a-like."

More proof that Mr Abramovich was in Singapore surfaced in the form of another photo taken on Saturday, showing him posing with three locals at the Gardens by the Bay's Cloud Forest.

This time, Mr Abramovich was just as casual in a black T-shirt and blue jeans.

The Twitter handle of the lucky fan who got that picture with him is Mr Rifqy M Hamzah.

'FRIENDLY'

When asked to comment on the meeting with the Chelsea owner, he said: "Mr Abramovich was very kind and friendly."

So is the man in the photos really Mr Abramovich?

The Official Chelsea FC Supporters' Club Singapore received no official word about him coming to Singapore and declined comment.

Finally, around 11pm last night, a response came from a spokesman for Mr Abramovich: "Yes, Mr Abramovich was in Singapore over the weekend.

"But no, I can't confirm that this particular photo is genuine."

Who is Roman Abrahamovich

Besides being a billionaire and the owner of Chelsea Football Club, what makes Mr Roman Abramovich such a big deal?

He is the 107th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of US$10.2 billion (S$12.8 billion), according to Forbes magazine.

He reportedly has a private army of 40 security personnel and two armoured Maybach 62 limos costing US$1.65 million each. They are bomb- and bullet-proof.

He owns a US$1.5 billion superyacht named the Eclipse, which has bullet-proof glass, a missile-defence system, a submarine and an anti-paparazzi laser shield.

He bought a former military base, New Holland Island, in St Petersburg, for £250 million (S$506 million) and plans to turn it into an art museum to house his personal collection.

congxuw@sph.com.sg


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