The richest person in the Czech Republic, Petr Kellner, who reportedly wanted to buy Chelsea football club from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2018, has been killed in a helicopter crash in Alaska, his financial group PPF said on Monday.
Kellner, who is the owner of the investment company PPF Group and is ranked by Forbes magazine as the world’s 88th richest man, was 56.
PPF said five people died in the crash, whose circumstances were being investigated.
“We announce with the deepest grief that, in a helicopter accident in Alaska mountains on Saturday, March 27, the founder and majority owner of the PPF group, Mr Petr Kellner, died tragically,” PPF said in a statement.
Kellner was a towering business figure of the Czech post-communist era, with his wealth estimated at $17.5 billion (Sh1.9 Trillion) according to Forbes.
His roots go back to the 1990s when he set up PPF as an investment company with partners to take part in the country’s scheme to privatise hundreds of state-owned companies.
PPF went on to grow in insurance, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, media or biotech in businesses spanning mainly Europe, Asia and the United States.
In 2018, according to Czech weekly news magazine Tyden, Kellner was reportedly considering buying England’s Chelsea football club after Abramovich rejected a £2 billion offer from Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe in June same year.
Abramovich bought Chelsea FC in 2003 for 140 million British pounds. Since then the club won the Premier League five times and won the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.