The Interior ministry confirmed the findings of a Lithuanian investigative journalism centre which collaborated with an international investigation.
The Interior Ministry of Lithuania has confirmed the findings of an investigative journalism centre that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s children have Lithuanian passports.
According to Siena, at least two children of the Russian oligarch have Lithuanian citizenship.
“Those persons, the children, have Lithuanian citizenship, which was acquired before the beginning of the war” said the director of the Migration Department, which continues to investigate whether more of the oligarch’s children could have Lithuanian passports.
Earlier this year, an investigation by The Guardian newspaper found out that just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, after which sanctions were imposed on Abramovich himself, the Russian oligarch transferred part of his assets to his children.
According to the information from the Migration Department, citizenship was granted on the basis of Abramovich’s descent.
“Grandparents of Mr Abramovich were from Lithuania, from Taurage region. Therefore, under the law, Roman Abramovich and his children and even his parents have a right to a Lithuanian citizenship,” Sarunas Cerniauskas, a journalist and author of the investigation, explained.
Security analysts warned that these kind of operations could be used not only to evade sanctions, but also to influence the Lithuanian political system.
The Interior Minister Agne Bilotatie emphasised that Lithuanian passports cannot be a cover to circumvent sanctions. Bilotaite said that legislation is being prepared that would allow stripping persons of Lithuanian citizenship on the grounds of a threat to national security, including for those who have acquired their passports on the basis of their descent.
She has also asked officials to find out how many of the sanctioned individuals or their relatives have Lithuanian citizenship.
Currently, Lithuanian laws don’t allow the removal of Lithuanian citizenship, which was granted on the basis of descent. According to the Migration Department, acquiring Lithuanian citizenship, on the basis of descent, could only be blocked, when the person provides information that does not correspond to reality, of if the person has committed war crimes.