Posted 22 декабря 2021,, 11:45

Published 22 декабря 2021,, 11:45

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

The reason why does Abramovich need a Portuguese passport

The reason why does Abramovich need a Portuguese passport

22 декабря 2021, 11:45
Last weekend, the Publico newspaper reported that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich had received Portuguese citizenship. Lisbon acknowledged that the owner of Chelsea Football Club is a descendant of Sephardic Jews. Novye Izvestia's correspondents were trying to find out why he needed a new passport.

Yelena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil

Roman Abramovich has everything that money can buy, including the world's most expensive private jet, bought the day before. But it turned out that money cannot buy everything, at least not everywhere. Here in England you can buy a football club, but there will be a mistake with a visa. Of course, a visa, for example, an investor visa, can also be bought there, but the rules and conditions of the visa will still have to be observed. For example, calculate how many days to spend in the UK each year. He lived less than what he should have in Albion - the visa may not be extended. Or not to give a passport, even if millions have been paid for a visa. This is especially true of those who came from countries whose authorities like, for example, to persecute their deserter agents in their new homeland, as was the case with Skripal.

Offended by the British, Roman Abramovich moved to Israel, where he received citizenship. But Abramovich did not like something in the Israeli passport, and two years later he made another attempt to obtain a European passport. This time everything went well.

Such persistence of the oligarch caused some bewilderment and gossip in the snowy homeland. Telegram channel Nezygar, close to the Russian authorities, presented its version, immediately recalling the media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, who, on the same basis, as a descendant of the Sephardic people, received citizenship on the Iberian Peninsula - in neighboring Spain almost twenty years ago.

Actually, according to Portuguese law, the application for the right to obtain citizenship through the Sephardic line is considered up to two years. This means that Roman Abramovich could have submitted it between 2018 and 2020. At this time, there were active plantings in Russia, including in large business. Mikhail Abyzov sat down, the Magomedov brothers were under investigation. Surrounded by Anatoly Chubais, those who could, mostly in London, fled. But criminal cases are still ongoing. According to the channel, close contacts with the current "inmates", in which Roman Abramovich was noticed, could arouse unhealthy interest in him among the security forces. Then this kind of safety net would not be superfluous.

Political analyst Sergey Markov recalls that Abramovich has always had good relations with Vladimir Putin. The oligarch helped the Russian authorities to fight the worst enemy of the Russian President Boris Berezovsky:

- Abramovich helped Russia when Berezovsky was suing the Russian authorities. He took the money from Berezovsky, though in his own favor, and did not give Russia to the budget, but he still helped a lot at the decisive moment. Therefore, he has a resource, a good relationship.

Previously, all of Abramovich's steps, all of his purchases, for example, Chelsea, were coordinated with the Kremlin. Whether he received permission for Portuguese citizenship at the very top is an open question, says political analyst Markov. Of course, in a country where no one ever renounces either a bag or a prison, anything can happen, including another option - Abramovich could sharpen his skis and escape from Russia with all his resources. But this is less believable.

- The most likely version is that Abramovich, in a situation where he intersects with Putin, said that much is possible, it will be useful if, as descendants of the Sephardim, we use and obtain citizenship in Portugal or Spain. Do you have any objections? In any case, it is helpful to minimize the risks. - suggests Markov.

Of course, there are innumerable examples when the authorities do not allow them to “live in peace”. True, we do not fully know how those who were sent either to prison, or, at worst, to foggy Albion with a one-way ticket, did harm. But apparently there are exceptions. These include Roman Abramovich.

True, everyone on the market is discussing that the movement of the oligarch's Russian assets has begun. So, from the EVRAZ group controlled by him, the separation of the coal business into a separate one began, and the shareholders will be given shares of the Raspadskaya mine. Artyom Tuzov, executive director of the capital market department of the investment company Univer Capital, explains that coal assets in Europe are regarded as "dirty" and they are cheaper. After EVRAZ becomes a "clean" company with a low carbon footprint, it will become more interesting to the buyer. This process of spinning off the Raspadskaya mine may indicate his desire to sell EVRAZ, the analyst says, especially since there have not been such large transactions on the Russian investment market for a long time:

- It is not a fact that this investor will be foreign. Since the company's shares are already listed on the stock exchange, and there is already a fair value, after the separation of assets, it will change. At the new cost, the deal can be interesting. Buyers, regardless of their country of origin, are interested in assets for which they can borrow money for a purchase. And taking money to buy a company with a high carbon footprint will not be so interesting, the loan will be more expensive.

As Artem Tuzov rightly notes, after the imposition of sanctions, Russian billionaires close to power were not welcome in England. Portugal is a member of the EU, but at the same time it cannot be said that it has played any very important role in the political situation in the world. Therefore, citizenship in a country where you will not be treated as an evil Russian is a good option. It is difficult to say how high the likelihood is that with the acquisition of a new homeland, Roman Abramovich will sell Russian assets. But - despite the pandemic, now is a good time to sell, and financial markets allow it to be done. However, rumors of sales did not leak into the market so far. No big deals have been heard yet.

There are large companies in Russia that would like to build international expansion and participate in international transactions, but cannot - their owners are either under sanctions or with lists of unwanted counterparties. The sale of companies may be the only way to remove this negative, which is caused not by the company itself and not by its activities, not by financial indicators, but by the presence of disputable shareholders, says Artyom Tuzov:

- For Russia, these shareholders are quite normal and even desirable, but for a company as a legal entity, they may be undesirable in terms of obtaining capital. There can be sales, and they will be reflected positively. In Russia, companies can be divided into three types: state-owned, private and owned not by oligarchs, but by big capital, which Europe and the United States associate with the state. These companies have been under attack since 2014.

Whether Abramovich is protecting his assets or himself, political analyst Alexander Kynev believes that there is only one conclusion - any businessman minimizes risks. You need a plan "B", and two jurisdictions, maybe three jurisdictions are better than one:

- Considering that in England there is a tough discussion about Russian capital, a tightening of control and other attention to the money that comes from the vastness of our homeland is declared, it is better to have jurisdiction where you will be a full citizen. I think this is absolutely pragmatic. Everything else is pure conspiracy theories.

However, not everything and not always is so unambiguous in our Palestines, or rather, in our Byzantine state. And now new names are already being heard - they say, there are questions for Viktor Vekselberg, especially after it became known about the financial collapse of Rusnano. As they say now, this is a consequence of thefts during the Chubais era. And who was Anatoly Chubais' closest partner? Vekselberg was.

Sergei Markov has a different version:

- Abramovich's acquisition of Portuguese citizenship is preparation for a sharp deterioration in relations between Russia and the West in general, which is likely to occur in 2022. Russia is no longer ready to tolerate the ongoing offensive of the West and is ready for a tougher response. And Abramovich needs more freedom in handling financial resources. Citizenship of a country - a member of the European Union gives a lot of freedom. Abramovich is not Putin's wallet. These are fairy tales!