Roman Abramovich was not poisoned but hurt when a tear gas canister exploded beside him as he left peace talks, reports in Turkey have claimed.
The Chelsea owner was flown to the Turkish capital Ankara to be treated in secret at a public hospital after the incident on March 3 in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the reports said. It was claimed earlier this week Abramovich and two Ukrainian delegates had lost their sight for several hours after the incident in the suspected poisoning attack, initially blamed on an infected chocolate bar.
Investigative journalist Christo Grozev subsequently linked it to a WW1 chemical agent and said a team of experts had agreed Chloropicrin or a low dosage of Novichok had been used in the "plot."
Russia has rubbished the reports, first carried by the Wall Street Journal, and described them as part of an “information war” and Ukraine negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak played them down on Wednesday as speculative “conspiracy theories".
News website Haberturk and TV channel CNNTurk on Thursday said Abramovich was injured when the tear gas canister exploded as he left a meeting with three other people in Kyiv on March 3. The reports are being widely published in national and local media in Spain after they were echoed by respected news agency Efe.
Spanish news website El Confidencial reported: “Abramovich was not poisoned, he was intoxicated with tear gas according to Turkish media.”
Detailing how the billionaire oligarch was flown to Ankara’s main public hospital to be treated, it said: “Both the digital newspaper Haberturk as well as the TV station CCNTurk are insisting today the symptoms of burning on his skin and in his eyes Abramovich is said to have suffered, were caused by a gas canister exploding beside him as he left a meeting, although they don’t reveal their source.
“The magnate was immediately taken by plane to Ankara. His presence was not made public and the register of his visit was kept secret.
“Haberturk says it is not known for certain whether the explosion of the gas canister was accidental or caused with the intention of sabotaging negotiations.”
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