Portugal blocks sale of villa over ‘strong belief’ it belongs to Abramovich

Portugal blocks sale of villa over ‘strong belief’ it belongs to Abramovich

Russian billionaire and Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich arrives at a branch of the High Court in central London October 31, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Winning/File Photo

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LISBON, May 14 (Reuters) – Portugal blocked the sale of a 10 million euro ($10.4 million) luxury home over the “strong belief” it belonged to sanctions-hit Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, said Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho on Saturday.

The land register of the villa in the luxury resort of Quinta do Lago in the Algarve was frozen on March 25 at the request of the foreign ministry, a month after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine – meaning it cannot be sold, rented or mortgaged.

“We are firmly convinced that the house belongs to Roman Abramovich, which has not yet been fully confirmed,” Cravinho said on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Berlin. “The challenge with this is that many of those sanctioned do not have their properties and assets in their name.”

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According to the Publico newspaper, which originally reported the story, the former Chelsea football club owner attempted to sell the property 15 days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began through Delaware-based Millhouse Views LLC, which owns Millhouse LLC manages his wealth.

However, a spokesman for Abramovich told Reuters he “does not own any property in Portugal” and “Millhouse Views LLC is not affiliated with him”.

“In fact, we’ve never heard of this company,” the spokesman added.

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 the public, the property is located on lot 17 of Quinta do Lagos San Lorenzo North area. A Reuters witness said there was a sign outside the gated mansion saying it had been sold.

Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government and the European Union for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has denied having any such connections.

The billionaire was granted Portuguese citizenship in April 2021 under a law that provided naturalization for descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula during the medieval Inquisition. Continue reading

There is little known history of Sephardic Jews in Russia.

The case sent shockwaves across Portugal, prompting prosecutors to launch an investigation and arrest a rabbi responsible for the certificate that allowed Abramovich to obtain citizenship. Continue reading

($1 = 0.9605 euros)

(This story has been refiled to add the omitted word in paragraph 6.)

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Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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