Nine of the 25 richest Russians on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index have a stake in at least one asset in Britain. And not just any old assets: the list includes entities like London’s largest private residence (after Buckingham Palace) and Chelsea and Arsenal football clubs.
Such trophies are symbolic of the appeal the U.K. has long held for ultra-rich Russians as a safe and stable place to do business and educate their children. But the U.K.’s draw is fading fast after the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and the latest round of U.S. sanctions. The British government said it’s reviewing 700 visas granted to wealthy Russians. And using a new tool called Unexplained Wealth Orders, law enforcement can seize property if its price doesn’t square with the owner’s income.
While that’s unlikely to be the situation for a billionaire with multiple income streams, it depends on how easily the source of wealth can be traced, said James Fletcher, an asset-recovery specialist at law firm Five St. Andrew’s Hill in London. Authorities “need to think carefully about what they can reasonably work out about people’s known source of income,” he said. “If the source of money is very opaque, then they could still file an unexplained wealth order.”
Meanwhile, no one of the nine is under investigation. A spokesman for Alisher Usmanov - whose U.K. assets include $100 million Surrey mansion and a stake in Arsenal - said the billionaire has “all necessary documents” to prove they were properly obtained.
Roman Abramovich: Evraz - $2.44 billion, Chelsea FC - $1.45 billion, Kensington mansion - $200 million, Truphone - $110 million, Highland Gold - $53.0 million, Velocys - $12.0 million, AFC Energy - $6.00 million;
Alexander Abramov: Evraz - $1.68 billion, Truphone - $194 million, Highland Gold - $44.0 million;
Alisher Usmanov: Arsenal FC - $927 million, , Surrey mansion - $100 million, Highgate mansion - $85 million;
Mikhail Fridman: Holland&Barret - $872 million, Highgate mansion - $92.0 million;
Gernam Khan: Holland&Barret - $564 million;
Alexey Kuzmichev: Holland&Barret - $439 million;
Petr Aven: Holland&Barret - $281 million;
Andrey Guryev: Highgate mansion - $125 million;
Oleg Deripaska: Belgravia mansion - $80.0 million;
Read the original text at Bloomberg.