Roman Abramovich has seen more than £5.4billion of his assets frozen in Jersey and 12 luxury properties – including a nearly £100million villa on the Riviera that was once King Edward VIII’s holiday home – seized by the French government.
The Royal Court of Jersey announced Wednesday that he had imposed a formal freezing order on “assets worth more than US$7 billion, which are believed to be linked to Mr Abramovich and which are either located in Jersey or held by entities incorporated in Jersey”.
The Russian oligarch and owner of Chelsea FC has also been hit by another crackdown in France on the assets of those targeted by the sanctions. The Ministry of Economy and Finance announced on Wednesday that it had seized 33 properties belonging to sanctioned oligarchs, including a dozen belonging to Abramovich.
“They include houses, superyachts and helicopters, and total well over 25 billion euros,” said a source from the French finance ministry. “There are 33 properties that have been frozen, including a dozen belonging to Roman Abramovich.”
Among the properties foreclosed is Abramovich’s Château de la Croë villa in Cap d’Antibes, which has eight bedrooms, a 15-metre rooftop swimming pool, gym and cinema. The villa, which was built in 1926, is set in 12 acres of manicured lawns overlooking the Mediterranean. High-end estate agents estimate the property is now worth between £90m and £100m.
Abramovich was subject to British sanctions on March 10 after ministers accused him of having “clear links” to Putin’s regime and being part of a group of wealthy Russian businessmen who had ” blood on the hands”.
However, the UK has not seized any of Abramovich’s UK properties, which include a £120million mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens, just behind the Royal Palace. His family have amassed a collection of properties in the UK worth over £250million, numbering around 70 houses, buildings and land. The UK is forcing him to sell Chelsea FC, which he bought in 2003 for around £140million.
The Jersey government said local police raided several properties linked to Abramovich on Tuesday. “Search warrants were executed by Jersey States Police on Tuesday April 12, 2022 at premises in Jersey suspected of being connected to the business activities of Roman Abramovich,” the island’s law department said.
Jersey is a self-governing British Crown dependency favored by the world’s wealthy for its very low taxes and reputation for strict banking secrecy.
The Guardian revealed last week that a company that owns a 50m superyacht linked to Abramovich was transferred to a Jersey company on the day of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The department would not comment on the yacht and said it would not provide any additional details. A spokesperson for Abramovich did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The yacht, Aquamarine, is the fifth ship to be linked to Abramovich. On February 24, ownership of the yacht passed from a company previously controlled by Abramovich to one of his close associates, Russian businessman David Davidovich.
Davidovich said he was the owner of Aquamarine as well as Jersey-based MHC Jersey, which is registered as the owner of the yacht on the MarineTraffic maritime database.
Jersey has pledged to follow the UK’s sanctions regime and “take targeted action to prevent abuse of Jersey service providers or structures”.
Last month, the island’s external relations minister, Ian Gorst, said the Jersey Financial Services Commission and the island’s police would co-operate “with international authorities, in particular those in the UK and the transatlantic working group, where potential activities or assets are identified”.
This month, Antigua and Barbuda said it was ready to help seize two superyachts owned by Abramovich moored in its ports.
Abramovich’s Riviera Villa was once the holiday home of Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, after his abdication in 1936. The Duke and his wife, Wallis Simpson, hosted Churchill’s 40th wedding anniversary at the mansion in 1948.
French authorities did not specify all of the properties of the oligarchs that had been seized, but said several other large villas in Saint-Tropez and Cannes had also been targeted as well as luxury alpine chalets in Méribel and other resorts. luxury skiing.