Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was granted Portuguese citizenship a few months ago. But this week, justice in Portugal opened an investigation behind the scenes of this naturalization.
Portuguese justice has opened an investigation into the naturalization procedure of Roman Abramovich, Russian billionaire and owner of London football club Chelsea, who benefited from a reparation law for the descendants of Jews expelled in the 15th century.
Questioned by AFP, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic confirmed on Wednesday “the opening of an investigation related to the mentioned subject”, which the Lisbon prosecutor’s office was responsible for, said a spokeswoman without further details.
Behind the scenes of this naturalization
This investigation is in addition to an internal investigation by the Institute of Registers and Notaries (IRN), which granted Portuguese nationality to Mr. Abramovich last April. The boss of Chelsea had thus benefited from a law adopted by Portugal in 2013 allowing all descendants of Sephardic Jews, persecuted and expelled at the end of the 15th century, to obtain Portuguese nationality.
A certificate attesting to his ancestry had been issued by the Jewish Community of Porto, the large city in northern Portugal. The ongoing investigations “seem positive to us for putting an end to unfounded theories,” Rabbi Daniel Litvak reacted in a statement, in an allusion to press reports suggesting that Mr. Abramovich could have benefited from a treatment of favor.