Billionaire Roman Abramovich becomes Portuguese citizen after learning about ancestors’ heritage

Billionaire Roman Abramovich

© APA | Billionaire Roman Abramovich

# 20 December 2021 19:28 (UTC +04:00)

The owner of the famous English football club Chelsea now has three passports, APA reports citing Sputnik.

In 2018, he became an Israeli citizen due to a local law that has been in place since 1950. The legislation allows individuals born to an Israeli mother or those who converted to Judaism to become citizens of the country.

Billionaire Roman Abramovich has become a citizen of Portugal after learning about his ancestors' heritage, local media reported. The businessman’s spokesperson has confirmed the news, saying the 55-year-old was granted a Portuguese passport on 30 April, but the media learned about it only recently.

This became possible due to a 2015 law that offers naturalisation to descendants of Sephardic Jews, who were persecuted during the Inquisition, as well as Conversos (Jews forcefully converted to Christianity).

Thousands of Jews have been granted Portuguese citizenship since the law was introduced. Each application is vetted by experts, who look for evidence of interest in Sephardic culture. Over the years, the billionaire has donated large sums of money to organisations fighting anti-Semitism as well those promoting Jewish culture.

Reports say he has donated over half a billion US dollars to Jewish causes in various countries, including in Russia, Israel, Britain, Lithuania, and Portugal.

The billionaire now has three passports. In 2018, he became an Israeli citizen after withdrawing his UK visa application amid a diplomatic spat between Russia and the United Kingdom, which started following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
Incidentally, by becoming a Portuguese citizen Abramovich, who is ranked 144th in the Forbes billionaire list, earned himself the title of the richest person in Portugal. The previous holder of the title was Americo Amorim, who died in 2017. Forbes estimated his net worth to be around $4.8 billion. Abramovich is estimated at $14.2 billion.

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