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Chelsea owner Abramovich gets Portuguese citizenship -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Roman Abramovich (Chelsea Football Club owner) walks past London’s High Court on November 16, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo

By Andrei Khalip

LISBON, (Reuters) – Roman Abramovich, billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club has been made a Portuguese citizen. He added the passport from Portugal to his Russian or Israeli passports.

A spokesperson for Abramovich said that the report published by Publico, citing Portuguese documents from the justice ministry, claimed that the Russian-born businessman was granted Portuguese citizenship in April 30.

The newspaper stated that Abramovich’s case relied on a Portuguese law which offered naturalization to descendants of Sephardic Jews, who were forced from Iberian peninsula by the medieval Inquisition.

Since 2015, thousands of Israeli Jews were granted Portuguese citizenship. Since the Spanish offered a similar citizenship to Sephardic Jews in 2019, Portugal has seen an increase in such applications.

Experts verify the applicant’s genealogies and search for evidence of Sephardi cultural interest.

According to Mazal of the Jewish Community of Porto, Abramovich contributed money to honor the legacy of Portuguese Sephardic Jews of Hamburg.

While there are few records of Russian Sephardic Jews, Abramovich, a popular surname of Ashkenazi Jewish descent is known.

Forbes now estimates Abramovich to have a fortune of $14.3 billion. In the 1990s Russia, Abramovich bought Chelsea Football Club. From 2000 to 2008, he was a Russian regional governor. In 2018, he obtained Israeli citizenship.

Around 300,000 Jews lived in Spain when, in 1492, monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand ordered them and the country’s Muslims to convert to Catholicism or leave. Tens to thousands fled Portugal only to be persecuted or expelled there in 1496.

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