Ukraine’s Wealthiest Man Donating $25 Million To War Effort After Securing Record Transfer Fee From Soccer Club

Ukrainian soccer star Mykhaylo Mudryk will be transferred to Premier League club Chelsea for a record $76 million, and about one-third of that massive payout will go to Ukrainian war efforts, Rinat Akhmetov – the billionaire metal magnate who owns Mudryk's old team Shakhtar Donetsk – announced Monday.

Chelsea indirectly contributing millions toward the Ukrainian war effort comes with a tinge of irony: The club was sold last May by its long-time Russian oligarch owner Roman Abramovich after U.K. sanctions against Abramovich made his oversight of the team untenable. A group led by American billionaire investor Todd Boehly bought Chelsea for $3.1 billion.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but since 2014 has engaged in a proxy war in the Donbass, the eastern Ukrainian region which includes Donetsk, forcing Shakhtar Donetsk to play its home games in other Ukrainian cities like Kyiv and Lviv. Mudryk led Shakhtar Donetsk to a first-place finish in the Ukrainian Premier League in the 2021-22 season and has seven goals and six assists in the team’s 12 matches this season. Akhemetov’s club may receive a further $32 million from Chelsea should Mudryk hit certain incentives, according to ESPN.

Akhmetov is worth $4.3 billion according to our latest estimates, by far the largest fortune of the seven Ukrainian billionaires identified by Forbes.

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