Portugal has blocked the sale of a $10.4 million mansion because of a “strong conviction” it belongs to Kremlin-linked billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has been hit by Western sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho said on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Berlin on May 14 that the property registry of the luxury home in the Quinta do Lago resort in the Algarve had been frozen.
He said the move was made at the request of the Foreign Ministry on March 25, about a month after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The action means the property cannot be sold or rented and that a mortgage cannot be taken out on it.
“We have a strong conviction, which hasn’t been fully confirmed, the house belongs to Roman Abramovich,” Cravinho said.
“The challenge here is that many of those sanctioned do not have their properties and assets in their names.”
A representative for Abramovich told Reuters he did not own “any property in Portugal.”
The billionaire was granted Portuguese citizenship in April 2021 based on a 2013 Portuguese law offering naturalization to descendants of Sephardic Jews who were persecuted and expelled from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century.
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.
On May 7, the British soccer club Chelsea announced it would be sold to a group of investors led by an American billionaire, formally ending nearly two decades of ownership by Abramovich.