Portugal has stopped selling the property, which it believes belongs to Abramovich

Portugal has stopped selling the property, which it believes belongs to Abramovich

Portugal’s Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho claimed on Saturday that he had “strong convictions” that a 10 million euro ($10.4 million) luxury mansion belonged to sanctions-hit Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. On March 25, a month after Russia’s complete invasion of Ukraine, the property registry of the mansion in the luxury Quinta do Lago resort in the Algarve was frozen – meaning it could not be sold, rented, or mortgaged – at the request of the foreign ministry.

However, a spokesperson for Abramovich told Reuters he did not own “any property in Portugal” and “Millhouse Views LLC is not connected” to him. “In fact we have never heard of this company,” the spokesperson added.

“We have a strong conviction, which hasn’t been fully confirmed, the house belongs to Roman Abramovich,” Cravinho said on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Berlin. “The challenge here is that many of those sanctioned do not have their properties and assets in their names.” According to Publico newspaper, which initially reported the story, the former Chelsea soccer club owner tried to sell the property 15 days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started through the Delaware-based Millhouse Views LLC, owned by Millhouse LLC, which manages his assets.

Portugal’s largest bank, Caixa Geral de Depositos, noticed the move to sell the property and alerted authorities, Publico said. The bank declined to comment. According to Publico, the property is in plot 17 of Quinta do Lago’s San Lorenzo North area. A witness said there was a signboard outside the gated mansion saying it had been sold.

There is little known history of Sephardic Jews in Russia. The case sent shockwaves across Portugal, leading public prosecutors to launch an investigation and to the detention of a rabbi responsible for the certification that allowed Abramovich to obtain citizenship.

Abramovich has been sanctioned by the British government and the European Union over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has denied having such ties. The billionaire was granted Portuguese citizenship in April 2021 based on a law offering naturalisation to descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from the Iberian peninsula during the Mediaeval Inquisition.

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