Italy seizes oligarchs’ villas and yachts in initial swoop


ROME (Reuters) -Italian police have seized villas and yachts value at the least 140 million euros ($153 million) from 4 high-profile Russians who had been positioned on an EU sanctions listing following Moscow’s assault on Ukraine, sources mentioned on Saturday.

A police supply mentioned a villa owned by billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, and a villa on Lake Como owned by state TV host Vladimir Soloviev, had each been seized.

In addition, sources confirmed that yachts belonging to Russia’s richest man, Alexey Mordashov, and Gennady Timchenko, who has shut tied with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been impounded in a single day in northern Italian ports. [L5N2V75YZ]

Russian oligarchs are believed to have purchased quite a few villas in selection Italian places over the previous 20 years and sources mentioned extra property had been anticipated to be seized in coming days as Western states implement large sanctions to attempt to pressure Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.

Italian banks had been instructed by the Bank of Italy’s monetary intelligence division on Friday to urgently let it know of all measures taken to freeze the property of individuals and entities positioned on the EU listing.

Uzbekistan-born metals and telecoms tycoon Usmanov is well-known in Italy for proudly owning a number of properties on Sardinia, whereas Italian media say Mordashov owned a villa value some 66 million euros ($72 million) on the identical island.

Taking under consideration the property of his complete household, Forbes journal estimates that Mordashov had an estimated web value of $29.1 billion earlier than sanctions hit.

His 65 metre (215 ft) yacht the “Lady M” had a price ticket of 65 million euros and was impounded in the northwest port of Imperia, whereas Timchenko’s boat Lena was value some 50 million euros and was seized in close by Sanremo, a judicial supply mentioned.

Timchenko made a fortune in oil buying and selling and has been described by Putin as certainly one of his closest associates.

Soloviev reportedly complained on Russian tv when he discovered final month that he risked shedding his Italian villa.

“Suddenly somebody comes to a decision that this journalist is now on the listing of sanctions. And instantly it impacts your actual property. Wait a minute. But you advised us that Europe has sacred property rights,” he was quoted saying by The Daily Beast.

While the European Union has moved rapidly towards people seen as near the Russian authorities, Britain has moved extra slowly.

However British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quoted as saying on Saturday that amendments to Britain’s financial crimes laws can be offered to parliament on Monday to assist the federal government act with extra velocity.

($1 = 0.9156 euros)

(Reporting by Emilio Parodi and Giuseppe Fonte; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by David Holmes)

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