Rabbi in Portugal arrested amid Russian Billionaire probe

Rabbi Daniel Litvak is being investigated for providing illicit paperwork for some applicants seeking to take advantage of Portugal’s citizenship opportunity.

By Associated Press

Portuguese police said Saturday that a rabbi in the city of Porto has been detained amid reports of an investigation into the granting of Portuguese nationality to Russian magnate Roman Abramovich.

Portugal’s criminal police office confirmed the arrest of Rabbi Daniel Litvak to The Associated Press after it was originally reported by Publico newspaper. Police did not specify the day of the arrest, which local media say occurred on Thursday.

Abramovich gained Portuguese citizenship in 2021 thanks to a law that offered to naturalize the descendants of Sephardic Jews who were forced to leave the Iberian peninsula centuries before.

Portuguese media reports that Litvak is being investigated on charges of corruption for allegedly providing illicit paperwork for some applicants seeking to take advantage of the citizenship opportunity.

Porto’s Jewish Community did not immediately respond to an email by the AP requesting comment on the arrest.

Like other oligarchs with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Abramovich is being targeted by sanctions for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich, 55, was on Saturday disqualified as owner of Premier League club Chelsea, the current European champion.

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Abramovich has been without a British visa since 2018. Since then, he gained citizenship both in Portugal and Israel.