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Lithuanian President Orders To Check Issuance Of Passports To Abramovich's Children

Lithuanian President Orders To Check Issuance Of Passports To Abramovich's Children

The documents may be taken away under the law on sanctions against Russia.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has ordered an investigation in connection with the publications saying that the children of oligarch Roman Abramovich have Lithuanian citizenship. According to LRT, he confirmed that the citizenship was granted legally, but asked to check whether this fact contributed to violating the laws on sanctions against Russia.

"Citizenship was granted in accordance with the current legislation. Yes, we need to check whether it was granted lawfully. And we need to assess whether these particular individuals participated, for example, in the mechanism of implementing the EU sanctions against Russia. Perhaps they interfered or otherwise contributed to the violation of the sanctions," the head of state added.

If this is confirmed, he said, it will be necessary to "look for opportunities to take measures in accordance with other Lithuanian laws".

The data obtained in the course of the international journalistic investigation by Cyprus Confidential shows that Abramovich's son Arkady and daughter Anna were granted Lithuanian citizenship. Among the documents obtained by journalists was a photo of the billionaire's son's passport, as well as the number of his daughter's Lithuanian passport.

"Mr Abramovich's children, like all other descendants of Lithuanian Jews who were persecuted, have an absolutely legal right to citizenship. The fact that the Lithuanian government did not mention this context is misleading and shameful," a spokeswoman for the billionaire said in response to a Bloomberg enquiry.

The Lithuanian Interior Ministry has already promised to adopt legislative changes to ensure that the Lithuanian passport is not used as a means of circumventing sanctions. Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said relevant changes to the Citizenship Law have already been prepared. The Migration Department will review the list of persons and entities subject to EU sanctions and check whether family members of sanctioned persons are Lithuanian citizens.

Nevertheless, Nauseda said, changing legislation in response to a single case is not a sign of a rule of law and such initiatives should not become "mass practice". "It is not good to start changing our laws by targeting a specific case, specific individuals," the president said.

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