Passport complications of Roman Abramovich
Trying to get a Portuguese passport
Roman Abramovich provoked raids on a synagogue in Portugal and even the arrest of Rabbi Daniel Litvak.
In Portugal, in 2015, a law was passed on the possibility of obtaining Portuguese citizenship by Sephardic Jews who had previously been expelled from the country. Our old friend Roman Abramovich decided to fit into this story.
Candidates for Portuguese citizenship through Sephardic roots were required to identify themselves as Jewish or be the child of a Jewish parent and provide evidence from their local rabbi that they “had a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin”, along with evidence that may include the etymology of their surnames (?), their family’s use of the language Ladino (?) (largely derived from Old Castilian Spanish and Portuguese), or other evidence of direct descent.
Nachman ben Aharon (Jewish name of Roman Abramovich) wrote an email to the Jewish community of Porto in 2020: “Dear community”, I am a Sephardic Jew, a member of the Sephardic community. Rabbi Beard interviewed me and confirmed my Sephardic origin. Thank you Roman.”
The attachments to the letter included a birth certificate, a PDF file titled “Letter from the Rabbi”, copies of Russian and Israeli passports, and a Microsoft Word document titled “Roman Abramovich’s Family Tree”. [ sic ]”. It included two parents, Irina and Arkady, who were born in the USSR, and four grandparents, who were born in the “Russian Empire [ sic ]”.
A few weeks later, Abramovich provided the same address with reformatted information and proof of payment. He also wrote: “I plan to donate to you [ sic] permanently over a long period of time”
The “letter from the rabbi,” which was required to confirm Abramovich’s Sephardic Jewry, was written by the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Alexander Boroda. In 2018, the Beard is officially declaredthat Abramovich donated half a billion dollars to the Jewish Federation over two decades.
Personal interview [Абрамовича], which Boroda conducted, fixes that Roman Arkadyevich “preserves Sephardic rituals, lifestyle, traditions and customs in food.” Asked what eating habits distinguish a Sephardic family in Russia, Boroda replied, “I don’t know for sure.”
Boroda did not mention that he himself sought to obtain a certificate as a Portuguese Sephardic Jew a few months after Roman Abramovich.
Since obtaining a Portuguese passport for Abramovich proved to be a super urgent matter, a member of the Porto Jewish community wrote a letter to the Portuguese authorities with the following information: history on European territory, we ask Your Excellency to take all measures to ensure that this information never becomes public.” Instead of the usual 29 months of waiting, Abramovich received a Portuguese passport in 2 months.
It is not known what exactly caused the searches in the Jewish communities and synagogues in Portugal in March 2022: whether the accelerated procedure for obtaining citizenship or fake certificates of belonging to the Sephardic Jewish community, but it is known that the name of Abramovich appeared in the documents for the search in the synagogue, submitted by the Portuguese police.
Beard in interview with Vanitifair reported that he provided a Sephardic certificate for 20-30 Jews, no more. If there are people who know Roman Arkadyevich personally, then ask him in Old Castilian and write in the comments what he answered you.
On Friday, the police arrived at the building of the Jewish community in Porto to question other members of its leadership. In 2015, the authorities granted her the right to certify the descendants of the Portuguese expelled in the 15th century. Authorities suspect that Abramovich may have obtained citizenship illegally. In a statement, the community of Porto dismissed the suspicions and stated that it was the victim of a “smear campaign” – reports Reuters.
Abramovich, whose fortune was estimated in December by Forbes magazine in $14 billion, at the time of obtaining citizenship, became the richest citizen of Portugal. However, the issuance of the passport caused at least two checks by the authorities. Abramovich’s acquaintances anonymously told the Russian media that he had long been interested in the history of his family and indeed traced its roots in Portugal, despite the fact that his surname is typical for Ashkenazi Jews from Central Europe.
Roman Abramovich received Portuguese citizenship in April 2021 through a naturalization law for the descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula during the medieval Inquisition. In January 2022, the Portuguese Attorney General’s Office and the Lisbon Investigation Department confirmed that they were investigating the circumstances surrounding his acquisition of citizenship. The Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN) also joined the investigation.
Rabbi Daniel Litvak spoke to the media after that, saying that he had no doubt that the investigation “will definitely establish that the businessman received Portuguese citizenship in strict accordance with the letter of the law, and that all the descendants of Sephardi Jews paid 250 euros in two installments – the state duty for registration of nationality and the fee charged by the certifying community. Litvak also pointed out that the full documentation of the certification process for granting Portuguese citizenship to Roman Abramovich based on certificates from the highest international Jewish institutions “has been at the disposal of the Central Registry Office of Lisbon for a long time” and has been carefully studied.