A rabbi who helped Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich obtain his Portuguese citizenship has been told he cannot leave Portugal and must present himself to authorities when required.
Daniel Litvak was detained as part of an investigation into how citizenship had been granted, he was picked up as he was preparing to travel to Israel and released after his passport and was seized and must periodically present himself to authorities.
Abramovich, 55 was granted Portuguese citizenship in April 2021 under a law that offered naturalisation to descendants of Sephardic Jews, who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula more than 400 years ago during the Inquisition.
Applicants for Portuguese citizenship via this route are assessed by experts at one of Portugal’s Jewish communities in either Lisbon or Porto. Litvak is the rabbi for the community in Porto (northern Portugal) and was responsible for assessing Abramovich’s application.
The naturalisation process of several Jewish people not just Abramovich is being investigated following suspicions of money laundering, corruption, fraud and falsification of documents in the process by Portugal’s Judicial Police and public prosecutor.
Porto’s Jewish community has denied any wrongdoing and said it was the target of a smear campaign. They added that Litvak oversaw the department that grants certification of an individual’s Sephardic Jewish heritage and the criteria used for granting someone Portuguese nationality had “been accepted by successive governments”.