DCIAP Focuses Investigations on Naturalization of Descendants of Sephardic Jews

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DCIAP Focuses Investigations on Naturalization of Descendants of Sephardic Jews
PGR says investigations into alleged abuses in the granting of Portuguese nationality are progressing.

The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) clarified on Tuesday that investigations into the granting of Portuguese nationality to descendants of Sephardic Jews are “continuing,” with inquiries concentrated at the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP).

“The investigation continues, in particular with the analysis of the extensive collection of documents seized and other elements collected. They are subject to investigative secrecy,” said the PGR in response to Lusa on the state of the investigation, more than a year after the announcement of the opening of the investigation related to the granting of Portuguese nationality to Russian millionaire Roman Abramovich and the Operation “Open Door”, with searches related to the Jewish-Israeli Community of Porto (CIP / JPIC).

Jewish-Israeli Community of Porto
Jewish-Israeli Community of Porto

A joint memo from the Public Ministry (MP) and the Judicial Police (PJ) stated at the time that the case concerned the alleged practice of crimes of influence peddling, active corruption, document forgery, money laundering, qualified tax fraud and criminal association. Two defendants were indicted at the time: Rabbi Daniel Litvak and attorney Francisco de Almeida Garrett, a member of the board of directors of the CIP/CJP.

In the clarification sent to Lusa, the Public Prosecutor’s Office also stated that “the competence for investigations related to the attribution of nationality under the legal regime for the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by descendants of Sephardic Jews is attributed by the Attorney General of the Republic to the DCIAP, so that this department concentrates these investigations”. However, the OPG has not informed the DCIAP of the current number of defendants.

The situation comes on the same day that the Civic Front sent a letter to the Minister of Justice, Catarina Sarmento e Castro, asking for “the urgent completion of the government investigation into suspected 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 asks the minister to “ensure the speedy investigation process”, to make a public statement on the case, and to set a deadline for the completion of the IRN process.

The Civic Front also defended the suspension of all processes for the granting of Portuguese nationality under this regime, calling on the government to certify the legality of the naturalization process of Abramovich and others, and asking for the publication of a list of all naturalized citizens or with pending processes in this area.

Meanwhile, also this Tuesday, the CIP/CJP assured Lusa that the Russian oligarch Gavril Yushvaev, suspected of links to organized crime and who has applied for Portuguese nationality, is “Sephardic of Portuguese origin” through his maternal family. On Sunday, Público newspaper reported that Gavril Yushvaev, who has a criminal record, applied for naturalization in 2020, which is still pending.

“The only data we have on the applicant is that his maternal family is Sephardic of Portuguese origin, settled for centuries in the Ottoman Empire, namely in Bulgaria. The mother’s surname, Navon, existed in Portugal as early as the 14th and 15th centuries. The municipalities of Porto and Lisbon verify the Sephardic origin of the people, the rest is up to the central registry office”, explains the CIP/CJP in a written response sent to the Lusa news agency.

According to data published by the Ministry of Justice in mid-October 2022, requests for Portuguese naturalization under the regime for descendants of Sephardic Jews rose to 50,407 in 2021, representing about 72% of the total of 70,087 requests submitted.

Source Publico / Lusa: https://www.publico.pt/2023/03/14/sociedade/noticia/dciap-concentra-inqueritos-naturalizacao-descendentes-judeus-sefarditas-2042429

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