Controversial Abramovich Scandal 2022 in Portugal

In 2022, Roman Abramovich, a Russian-Israeli billionaire, became embroiled in a scandal concerning his acquisition of Portuguese citizenship. Abramovich Scandal indicates that he obtained Portuguese citizenship through a law that grants nationality to descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from Portugal in the 15th century. His naturalization sparked controversy and allegations of abuse of the law designed to rectify historical injustices.

Critics argued that Abramovich’s application was processed with unusual speed and lacked proper verification, raising suspicions of manipulation and corruption. The Portuguese government subsequently announced plans to modify the legislation to prevent such abuses.

The scandal gained further attention due to the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Abramovich faced sanctions and scrutiny over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Documents related to his naturalization process were leaked, underscoring the controversial nature of his citizenship

Porto’s Jewish community maintains the “Abramovich Scandal” charges levied against their rabbi in 2022 were unfounded, leading to his exoneration that same year. The scandal stemmed from alleged irregularities in certifying his Portuguese ancestry, a requirement for citizenship granted to Abramovich in 2021.

The scandal involved an allegedly dubious certification of Roman Abramovich’s Portuguese Sephardic ancestry, which under Portuguese law would have granted him citizenship.

Community alleges political motive behind Abramovich scandal

Despite facing no document forgery charges, Portugal revoked Roman Abramovich’s ancestry certification after his link to Putin emerged, the Jewish community claims. However, he retains citizenship.

Abramovich citizenship questioned: Government’s move seen as politically motivated

While holding onto Portuguese citizenship, Roman Abramovich lost his ancestry certification, fueling speculation by the Jewish community that the decision was based on his association with Putin, not document issues.

The "Abramovich scandal" 2022 has sparked controversy in Portugal, with the Jewish community of Porto questioning the official narrative.
The “Abramovich scandal” 2022 has sparked controversy in Portugal, with the Jewish community of Porto questioning the official narrative.

The community claims that the decision to grant citizenship is only within the power of the Portuguese government and the Jewish community can only provide certification of the ancestry requirements, which all previous governments had upheld.

As a result of the scandal, the community has stopped cooperating with the Portuguese government on citizenship matters.

Vindicating the reputation of the Jewish community : Abramovich scandal

To vindicate their reputation, the community has released a comprehensive report, presenting evidence that refutes the alleged scandal concocted by the Portuguese government.

Initially, the community presents documents validating Abramovich’s sufficient Sephardic ancestry, citing family names certified by the Portuguese government as Portuguese Sephardic. These names include Abramovich, Leiba/Leiva (his great-grandfather), Rosa (great-grandmother), Leibovich (grandfather), and Berkover (grandmother).

They argue that these families trace their origins to Peter the Great’s invitation to the Portuguese Sephardic community in Hamburg to migrate to Russia in the 17th Century, providing documentation linking Abramovich’s ancestors to these invitees.

Addressing allegations of direct payments for certification, the community counters that Abramovich only contributed 250 € and provides documentation confirming its declaration to the Portuguese government.

Regarding the citizenship process, the community emphasizes its role in issuing informed opinions on Portuguese Sephardic origin, while the government holds discretionary power for granting or denying nationality.

Accusing the Portuguese government of deception, the community challenges the government’s assertion that the community possesses the authority to grant citizenship through its certificates, branding it as a falsification of the truth.

A law initially designed for historical restitution has now transformed into a mechanism for orchestrating antisemitic persecution involving both the government and major societal powers.

According to the community, the government’s attempts to scapegoat them were a strategic move to shift blame away from the government to the community, particularly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 rendered Abramovich’s citizenship less favorable.

The community contends that this distortion was a collaborative effort with the Portuguese media, which they claim is largely under the influence of small financially distressed economic entities heavily reliant on the State.

They argue that this concoction aligns with long-standing antisemitic and anti-Jewish sentiments within the Portuguese left wing, rooted in Soviet-style antisemitism.

Concluding their documentation, they emphasize that assuming a Russian Jew has a 100% Russian background ignores the history of a people who, as forced migrants, traversed countries and predominantly married within their own community.

JP Post

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