Russian billionaire Abramovich submits resignation as governor of Far Eastern region

Russian billionaire and owner of England's Chelsea soccer team on Wednesday submitted his resignation as governor of the remote Far Eastern Chukotka region, an aide said.

Spokesman John Mann said Abramovich was resigning because he felt his mission of helping rebuild and economically assist the impoverished region has been accomplished.

"Over the past six years he has spent and attracted hundreds of million dollars in investment to rebuild Chukotka from the ground up," Mann told the Associated Press. "The region has modern infrastructure, a solid budget and long-term development strategy drafted by the Abramovich administration."

Mann said the Kremlin has not yet informed Abramovich on whether his resignation will be accepted.

Russian news agencies cited Putin's spokesman Alexei Gromov as saying the question was being considered.

Abramovich was first elected governor of Chukotka six years ago and was appointed by Putin last year after direct elections of regional leaders were abolished.

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 loyalty to the Kremlin.

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