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The list of Portuguese billionaires keeps growing. Thanks to a newspaper search Publicity The second Russian oligarch who also enjoys Portuguese citizenship is well known, like Roman Abramovich, the most famous of them all. This is Andréi Rappoport, who has a net worth of €1,200 million, according to the magazine forbes, and that he obtained Portuguese citizenship on December 30, 2019, thanks to a direct door opened in legislation to facilitate citizenship for the descendants of Sephardim expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in the fifteenth century.

Rappoport, who was born in Ukraine (then Soviet territory) in 1963, worked closely with other Russian oligarchs such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky, now in exile in London, or with Mikhail Fridman, the owner of the Dia supermarket chain, who was forced to resign Board after being included in the list of Russian businessmen sanctioned by Brussels after the invasion of Ukraine. Andrei Rappoport was chairman of one of Russia’s largest private banks before moving into the energy sector as chairman of the state-owned Federal Grid Company. In 2006, it crossed the revolving door to become a private company and took control of the largest electrical network construction company in Russia, which received contracts from the previously public company. In a strange operation, Rappoport sold the company to a partner of Abramóvich for 216 million euros, later valued at more than 2,000 million euros.

With the data published so far by the Portuguese press, Rappoport became the first Russian oligarch to obtain Portuguese citizenship thanks to the favorable certificate he received from the Jewish community of Porto, which is in the crosshairs of the judicial investigation for which it is concerned has developed a few months in Portugal after the anomalies discovered in numerous nationalization processes. The second Russian billionaire to be granted Portuguese citizenship was Roman Abramóvich, who was specifically granted it in comparison to the long waits faced by other applicants who had spent years trying to gain access to a citizenship that opened the doors of the European Union’s elite club would open. The previous Chelsea owner did not succeed in the UK, but did in Portugal, which gave him a new passport on April 30, 2021, giving him all the privileges of community citizenship: move freely in the EU and waive visas for access 116 Countries, according to last year’s Passport Index statistics.

Connections to the Kremlin

Two more oligarchs are waiting. According to the newspaper Publicity, this is God Nisanov, who applied for citizenship on June 26, 2020, and Lev Leviev, who processed it on November 6, 2020. All of them via the Jewish community of Porto, which supported almost 90% of the 137,087 applications submitted by the Ministry of Justice between 2015 and 2021. Both Nisanov and Leviev have good connections with the Kremlin. The first to be awarded the Order of Friendship by President Vladimir Putin in 2014 is a real estate developer with stratospheric fortunes (€4,300 million according to forbes). Nisanov was included in the list of businessmen sanctioned by the United States and was defined by Secretary of State Antony Blinken as “a close associate of various Russian authorities”.

Lev Leviev’s portfolio also has no needs. Baptized the King of Diamonds, he was a partner in Angola to Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest businesswoman and daughter of the late President José Eduardo dos Santos. He is a friend of Abramovich and Berel Lazar, chief rabbi of Russia and close to Putin, and was certified by Porto’s Jewish community as a descendant of the Iberian Sephardim in 2020, according to the weekly espresso. His connections to the power of the Dos Santos family helped him seize mines and corner the powerful De Beers company in the gem market.

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After the storm unleashed by the irregularities in granting citizenship under the umbrella opened in the citizenship law to descendants of Sephardim, it is difficult for the Justice Ministry to give the green light to Leviev’s and Nisanov’s applications. Abramóvich’s own nationality has been under investigation for months, and just a week ago the Judicial Police conducted new searches at law offices and private homes in connection with Operation Open Door, which is investigating irregularities committed in the processing of passports.

The decree, which allowed descendants of Jews expelled from the country more than five centuries ago to be granted Portuguese nationality, came into force on March 2, 2015 and was amended in 2020. Promoter of the Sephardic nationalization was Socialist MP Maria de Belém Roseira, aunt of Francisco de Almeida Garrett, lawyer, director of the Jewish community of Porto and one of those under investigation for the scandalous nationalizations. After the Abramóvich cases and the Portuguese passport business came to light, the government tightened the requirements to obtain Portuguese citizenship under the protection of Sephardic origin, as evidence of a genuine and current connection with the country.

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Source elpais.com

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