Roman Abramovich’s ‘lightning’ concession of Portuguese nationality under investigation

IRN, the Portuguese institute of registrations and notaries, is investigating the lightning concession of Portuguese nationality to Russian oligarch and owner of Chelsea Football Club Roman Abramovich. As reports have already explained, Mr Abramovich obtained Portuguese nationality in April 2021 “in a process that was approved and finalised in record time”. The situation has raised a number of questions – even seeing foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva wade into the fray to say everything was more than above board (click here), thus this inquiry will hopefully iron-out any wrinkles. One of the biggest questions relates to whether Mr Abramovich can really trace his ancestry back to Sephardic Jews expelled from Portugal over 500 year ago. His lineage is thought to be Ashkenazi Jewish (from northern Europe), not Sephardic. But Portuguese nationality does now mean Mr Abramovich has free passage throughout Schengen Space.

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