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DCIAP Directs Attention to Naturalization Cases Involving Sephardic Jewish Descendants PGR


Reports progress in investigations related to potential misuse in granting Portuguese nationality.

On Tuesday, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) provided an update on the ongoing investigations into the naturalization of Sephardic Jewish descendants, stating that the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP) is focusing on these cases. “The investigation is moving forward, particularly with the examination of the substantial volume of confiscated documents and other gathered evidence. The investigation remains under judicial secrecy,” the PGR informed Lusa regarding the current state of the investigation, which began over a year ago. The investigation is related to Portuguese nationality being granted to Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich and the “Open Door” operation, which involved searches linked to the Porto Jewish-Israeli Community (CIP/JPIC).

A joint statement from the Public Ministry (MP) and the Judicial Police (PJ) revealed that the case involved alleged crimes of influence trafficking, active corruption, document falsification, money laundering, aggravated tax fraud, and criminal conspiracy. Rabbi Daniel Litvak and attorney Francisco de Almeida Garrett, a board member of CIP/CJP, were indicted at that time.

In their response to Lusa, the Public Prosecutor’s Office also mentioned that “the DCIAP is responsible for investigating matters related to nationality attribution under the legal framework for acquiring Portuguese nationality for Sephardic Jewish descendants, as designated by the Attorney General of the Republic. This allows the DCIAP to centralize these investigations.” However, the OPG has not informed the DCIAP about the current number of defendants. On the same day, the Civic Front sent a letter to the Minister of Justice, Catarina Sarmento e Castro, urging the “swift conclusion of the government investigation into alleged abuses in the granting of Portuguese nationality” at the Institute of Registrars and Notaries (IRN).

In the letter, signed by the Civic Front’s president and vice-president, Paulo Morais and João Paulo Batalha, the organization also requested the minister to “guarantee an expedited investigation process,” make a public statement on the case, and establish a deadline for the IRN process to be completed.

The Civic Front also advocated for the suspension of all processes granting Portuguese nationality under this framework, urging the government to verify the legality of the naturalization of Abramovich and others, and requesting the publication of a list of all naturalized citizens or those with pending processes in this domain. Additionally, on Tuesday, the CIP/CJP informed Lusa that Russian oligarch Gavril Yushvaev, who is suspected of having ties to organized crime and has applied for Portuguese nationality, has “Portuguese Sephardic roots” through his maternal family. On Sunday, Público newspaper reported that Gavril Yushvaev, who has a criminal record, filed for naturalization in 2020, and his application is still pending.

“The only information we have on the applicant is that his maternal family has Portuguese Sephardic roots, having been established for centuries in the Ottoman Empire, specifically in Bulgaria. The mother’s last name, Navon, has been present in Portugal since the 14th and 15th centuries. The municipalities of Porto and Lisbon verify the Sephardic origins of individuals; the rest is up to the central registry office,” CIP/CJP explained in a written response sent to Lusa news agency. According to data released by the Ministry of Justice in mid-October 2022, Portuguese naturalization requests under the Sephardic Jewish descendants’ regime reached 50,407 in 2021, accounting for roughly 72% of the total 70,087 applications submitted.

 Source: Portugal Pulse: Portugal news website in English

Amenorhu kwaku
Amenorhu Kwaku

Amenorhu kwaku is an author, internet marketer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of SuccessValley, a network community for students and aspiring entrepreneurs