Portugal launches second probe into decision to grant Abramovich a passport
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Portugal launches second probe into decision to grant Abramovich a passport

Lisbon criminal office launches inquiry following claims from activists and politicians that the oligarch may not have had Sephardic roots

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich

Prosecutors in Portugal have launched a second investigation into the decision last year to grant citizenship to Roman Abramovich.

The billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club became a national of the country in April 2021 based on a law offering naturalisation to the descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled in the 15th century.

An internal inquiry into that move was launched last week by the Institute of Registries and Notary, which provides citizenship services, but now prosecutors have launched their own probe.

Officials confirmed it would be handled by a criminal investigation department in Lisbon, but did not explain what had triggered the inquiry, Reuters reported.

A number of activists and politicians in Portugal have criticised the decision to grant Russian-born Abramovich a passport because Russia had little known history of Sephardic Jewish inhabitants, whereas his surname is widely known to have Ashkenazi origins.

Some campaigners believe Portugal’s citizenship law is being used to allow oligarchs to gain a foothold in the European Union.

Abramovich did not immediately respond to the latest investigation.

Last week his representative said he would “welcome any review as it will only demonstrate the citizenship was obtained in accordance with the rules”.

Thousands of people have been granted Portuguese citizenship since a law passed in 2015 offered the opportunity to the descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled during the Inquisition in the 15th century.

A similar citizenship offer by Spain expired in 2019.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments