At least two children of a Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich are citizens of Lithuania, the authorities of the Baltic republic recognized. Lithuania’s interior minister said the country now intends to change citizenship laws so they cannot be used to circumvent sanctions imposed on Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism) over the war in Ukraine.
Currently, Lithuanian laws do not provide for the possibility of revoking such passports, even if they are used to circumvent sanctions.
The Lithuanian passports of Abramovich’s children were reported on the morning of December 6 international consortium of investigative journalists OCCRP and his Lithuanian Siena partner.
Journalists found a scan of the oligarch’s son’s passport – Arkady Abramovich — as part of the Cyprus confidential investigative project. Anna Abramovich’s Lithuanian passport number was also found there.
According to media reports, Arkady received a Lithuanian passport ten years ago; its validity expires on December 5 of this year. It is unknown when Anna’s passport was issued.
currenttime.tv, 12/06/2023, “Roman Abramovich’s two children received Lithuanian passports and used them to help their father circumvent sanctions – OCCRP”: According to the publication, Abramovich’s eldest son Arkady received a Lithuanian passport on February 22, 2022 – two days before the start of Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism)’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It is unknown when Anna Abramovich received her passport.
Investigators did not find any real estate or companies owned directly by Arkady and Anna in Lithuania. They suggest that Lithuanian passports are the only asset of Roman Abramovich’s two children in Lithuania. On what basis they were issued is unknown. […]
Roman Abramovich flew to Lithuania in 2018. The media then suggested that he was trying to obtain Lithuanian citizenship. Lithuania allows citizenship to descendants of people who held it before Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism) occupied the country in 1940. Abramovich’s paternal grandparents lived in Lithuania in the 1940s, and his grandfather was among thousands of Lithuanians deported to Siberia, where he died. — Insert K.ru
In January 2022, the British The Guardian newspaper reportedthat even before the start of the war in Ukraine Abramovich transferred property to his seven children with a total value of about 4 billion dollars.
The fact that at least two children have passports from an EU country makes this step very similar to an attempt to circumvent sanctions.
Just a few hours after information about the passports appeared in the Lithuanian media, the head of the Lithuanian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Agne Bilotaite, convened a press conference. She emphasized that Anna and Arkady received documents before the war, writes the Lithuanian portal Delfi.
The head of the Lithuanian Migration Department, Evelina Gudzinskaite, in turn, noted that Abramovich’s children are not on the sanctions list and are private individuals.
According to her, Lithuanian laws do not allow the revocation of citizenship that was acquired through a standard procedure – for example, due to origin.
But if Anna and Arkady received passports as an exception, then they could be taken away for reasons of national security, Gudzinskaite says.
Lithuania and Portugal change laws because of Abramovich
The media wrote back in 2018 that Roman Abramovich has Lithuanian roots. Then the oligarch visited Vilnius, and his visit provoked a wave of speculation that he was allegedly applying for a Lithuanian passport for himself.
A few hours after the press conference, Agne Bilotaite reported in Facebookthat Lithuania intends to change its citizenship laws.
“Taking into account the information that the Lithuanian passports of the children of the Russian oligarch Abramovich could be used to circumvent sanctions, I want to emphasize that Lithuanian passports cannot be a cover for such actions,” the minister wrote.
She said that amendments to the Lithuanian citizenship law have already been prepared. According to these amendments, national security considerations may become a reason for the revocation of a Lithuanian passport, issued also on the basis of origin.
In addition, the head of the Lithuanian Ministry of Internal Affairs instructed to evaluate the entire list of people under sanctions and find out which of them or their relatives have Lithuanian passports.
As the media discovered, in the past Abramovich also received Portuguese citizenshipstating that he has Sephardic Jewish roots.
After this, Lisbon decided to change its laws on granting citizenship on the basis of Jewish origin, and the rabbi who helped him with obtaining a passport was accused of breaking the law.
Sanctions against Abramovich
British authorities and the European Union consider Abramovich close to the Kremlin and have imposed sanctions on him over Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism)’s attack on Ukraine.
In the UK, a businessman was allowed to sell a London Chelsea Football Club only on the condition that the money goes to help those affected by the war.
Abramovich himself categorically denies that he has financial ties with the Kremlin and is trying to challenge in court the decision of the EU and Great Britain to impose sanctions on him.
He risks falling under American sanctions, since his attempts to become a mediator in achieving peace between Ukraine and Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism) were unsuccessful, according to a January publication by the Wall Street Journal.