The Porto Jewish community feels very strongly that a public apology is deserved

Porto Jewish community calls for public apologies from attorney-general, judicial police

Community previously reached out to President Marcelo

The Jewish Community of Porto (CJP) has today urged the country’s attorney-general and the national director of the Judicial Police (PJ) to make a “public apology” for the way it was treated a little over a year ago.

In a letter addressed to Lucília Gago and Luís Neves – and in a statement sent to Lusa news agency – the Jewish-Israeli Community of Porto (CIP/CJP) called for the presence of both, at on April 25 at the inauguration of the Jewish cemetery in Porto, “for a public apology”.

“We wish your presence at the inauguration of the cemetery. Apologise in front of the whole community, or inform those present (that) you are trying to set up another botched case, lost among millions of communications and documents”.

The letter refers to Portuguese authorities’ search warrants in Operation Open Door that “allowed the invasion of the synagogue (in Porto) as if it were a brothel”.

Some of the phrases within the search warrants described “suspicions concerning relations between various societies, the Porto Israeli Community and its leaders, and the relevant Portuguese authorities – knowledge and privileged connections in registry offices, which allowed priority to requests for the acquisition of nationality to Sephardic Jews – in exchange for pecuniary rewards” – but the community has consistently stressed that no crimes have been committed, or indeed proved.

Says the statement today: “The Jewish Community of Porto reiterates the falsity of the accusations presented, distancing itself from any advantageous position in any process in which its name is involved”.

This controversy began in March 2022 when an investigation was opened into the granting of Portuguese nationality on the back of the Sephardic law to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

PJ police launched an operation dubbed “Open Door”, describing alleged crimes of influence peddling, active corruption, forgery of documents, money laundering, qualified tax fraud and criminal association were at stake.

Porto Rabbi Daniel Litvak was detained for questioning and then released. Lawyer Francisco de Almeida Garrett was made an ‘arguido’ (official suspect). His home was searched, as was the home of the community’s vice president.

Since then nothing has ‘moved forwards’. Quite the opposite – an appeals court has ruled that the case was based on nothing.

Hence the anxiety of the CIP/CJP, which simply wants to see its name cleared, finally. The community maintains that all the indictments “are technically impossible”, and calls for the arrest of the authors of the anonymous complaints that initiated Operation Open Door in the first place.

Last month, the CIP/CJP sent a letter to president Marcelo, asking him to come  forward with “an apology from the Portuguese State for the harm and damage caused, which it described as “irrecoverable and never compensable”.

As far as the Resident understands, President Marcelo referred the letter to the government/ ministry for foreign affairs, which surprised the community as the majority of members are not foreigners, they are Portuguese, living in Portugal.

Source material: LUSA