A luxurious estate on the French Riviera, Sardinian villas, mansions in London and Paris, and a billion-dollar offshore trust –– these are some of the more than two dozen assets that Russian oligarchs have managed to keep secret until now.
They are included in the Russian Asset Tracker, launched today by OCCRP, the Guardian, and other media partners. The tracker exposes the global financial interests of allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Many of these super-rich tycoons have been slapped with sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Commonly referred to as “oligarchs” –– entrepreneurs who first emerged in the free-market aftermath of the Soviet Union, capitalizing on connections and corruption –– they include Roman Abramovich, Oleg Deripaska, and Alisher Usmanov.
Each of those men are “key enablers and beneficiaries of the Kremlin’s kleptocracy,” the Anti-Corruption Foundation, set up by jailed Putin critic Alexei Nalvany, said in an open letter to the U.K. government in February 2021.
The asset tracker reveals that Abramovich owns an estate in St. Tropez, on the French Riviera, as well as a $24-million London mansion, a lakeside villa near Salzburg, and a Parisian townhouse worth $17.5 million at purchase in 2009.
Abramovich was also allegedly the sole beneficiary of the Cyprus-registered HF Trust, which was valued between $893 million and $1.3 billion in 2016. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Deripaska secretly owns three residences in Sardinia, an office and villa in Cyprus, and commercial real estate in Luxembourg. Deripaska’s press secretary said “all of the property and assets that he owns were acquired by fair means.”
Two nephews of Usmanov own mansions in North London. A spokesperson said Usmanov provided funds to his sister “on the basis of family ties,” adding that “how she disposed of that money was entirely up to her.”
Documents from 2017 show an estate in Tuscany owned by the family of Igor Shuvalov, a former Russian deputy prime minister whose political tenure was dogged by allegations of corruption and illicit payments. He did not respond to questions about the property
The family of Nikolai Tokarev, chairman of Russia’s largest state-owned oil transport company, Transneft, owns property on the Croatian island of Losinj, a hotspot for Russian money. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Russian Asset Tracker contains information on a total of almost 150 assets, worth in excess of $17 billion, linked to these and other influential politicians and oligarchs. The platform is set to expand in coming weeks, as journalists further investigate the offshore ownership structures used to hide their holdings.
Meanwhile, financial restrictions and travel bans continue to mount against the Russian officials and their allies, amid escalating war in Ukraine.
“The aid of these individuals, their family members, and other key elites allows President Vladimir Putin to continue to wage the ongoing, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” said U.S.Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a March 3 statement.
At least 3 million Ukrainians have fled the country, and almost 2,000 civilians have been injured or killed, while negotiations have failed to stop the violence.
The European Union has also imposed sanctions, along with countries including the UK, Canada, Australia and Japan. They prevent companies from doing business with sanctioned Russian firms and individuals –– including most of the people featured in the Russian Asset Tracker.
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