In France, for the first time, the property of a Russian oligarch is confiscated – Le Monde

Anastasia Pechenyuk09:02, 03/02/23

The villa was not declared as property belonging to a Russian oligarch.

A court in France has for the first time allowed the criminal seizure of real estate belonging to a sanctioned  Russian oligarch , which could be the first step on the way to confiscation of this property.

We are talking about a villa worth 23 million euros of the owner of the “Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Plant” Victor Rashnikov in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (southeast of France), writes Le Monde.

The mansion was arrested in October 2022 at the request of judges of the National Organized Crime Jurisdiction of the Paris Prosecutor’s Office. In general, after the Russian oligarch came under sanctions on March 15, 2022, three real estate properties officially associated with Rashnikov were frozen – on the French Riviera and in Paris. The villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat then escaped arrest because, according to the publication’s source, it was not declared as property belonging to Rashnikov.

Later, the service under the Ministry of Finance of France found out that due to complex financial schemes, the villa belonged to a Russian citizen, probably a proxy of Rashnikov. Shortly after the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, the villa was resold, the new owner was also Russian. Officially, the object was owned by a Swiss company, which itself belonged to a Panamanian structure. Law enforcement officers believe that the purpose of the “suspicious resale operation” was to hide the origin of the funds and the actual beneficiary. 

The villa is now in the hands of the Ministry of Justice Agency for the Management and Return of Seized and Confiscated Assets. 17 million dollars – proceeds from the sale of the villa after taxes – were blocked. The object may be permanently confiscated by the government. 

Who is Viktor Rashnikov?

Viktor Rashnikov is the main owner and chairman of the board of directors of one of the largest steel producers in Russia – PJSC Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Plant. In the ranking of Russia’s richest businessmen for 2022, Forbes magazine estimated the fortune of the 73-year-old businessman at $6.6 billion. He took the 18th line of the rating. 

Due to the support of Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2022 personal sanctions were imposed against Rashnikov by the USA, Great Britain, EU, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and other countries.

It is interesting that Hungary sought the lifting of sanctions against 9 Russians, including Viktor Rashnikov and other oligarchs.

(C)UNIAN 2023

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