Roman Abramovich to be stripped of his Portuguese citizenship as rabbi is arrested

There are reports that Portuguese police have arrested a rabbi they believe helped Roman Abramovich to get Portugese citizenship last year.

Officers swooped on rabbi Daniel Litvak as part of an ongoing inquiry into how the Chelsea owner added the new passport to his Russian and Israeli ones.

But, according to The Sun, Portuguese criminal investigation agency PJ are looking into the legalities of Abramovich’s new passport.

In a statement, Porto’s Jewish community denied any wrongdoing and said it is was the target of a “smear campaign”.

It said that rabbi Litvak oversaw the department that certifies Portuguese nationality on the basis of criteria that “have been accepted by successive governments”.

Abramovich was given the passport in 2021, based on a Portuguese law which offers naturalisation to descendants of Sephardic Jewish people.

Applicants’ genealogies are vetted by experts at one of Portugal’s Jewish centres in Lisbon or Porto.

The Porto centre, where Litvak is the rabbi, was responsible for Abramovich’s process.

Public prosecutors opened an inquiry in January, with sources claiming this week that Abramovich could be stripped of his citizenship depending on the outcome of the inquiry.

In a joint statement, PJ and the public prosecutors said a suspect had been detained on Thursday but did not name the rabbi.

They added that the suspect would appear before a judge, and confirmed that they raided homes, a lawyer’s office and others spaces on Friday as part of the investigation into crimes such as money laundering, corruption and falsification of documents.

Litvak was preparing to travel to Israel when he was detained, Publico said.