According to The Guardian newspaper, a dedicated unit of more than 250 German police officers raided several properties in Bavaria belonging to Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov on Wednesday. The raid also targeted his villa on Tegernsee lake in the southern state of Bavaria, due to suspicions of money laundering and the violation of EU sanctions.
Violating foreign trade laws
The newspaper confirmed that the Munich state prosecutor indicated that a Russian citizen on the EU sanctions list had violated Germany’s foreign trade law by continuing to pay a security firm to watch over his properties in Upper Bavaria, therefore violating the asset freeze. The media source also reported that the same individual is being investigated for money laundering based on suspicious transactions that is linked to offshore accounts.
As a well-known fact, Usmanov was one of the early investors in Facebook and established his fortune though mining activities and sports. The EU, US, the UK and Switzerland have added him to the sanction lists and froze his assets following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia earlier this year.
The newspaper article also indicated that the 71-year-old Usmanov was once regarded as one of the UK’s richest people and was a former shareholder of Arsenal, the English football team. It is believed that Usmanov is still active in many business sectors and has an estimated net worth of £12.8 billion. However, he is now suspected of evading several hundreds of million of euros of tax in Germany.
It is reported that Usmanov resided in the Tegernsee municipality from 2014 to 2022. The German authorities suspect that he owes the state income and gift tax payments of approximately €555 million and this close ally of Putin, has already lost his superyacht which is regarded as the largest yacht by tonnage in the world.
In earlier reports, the German federal police indicated that they had seized the 156-metre-long yacht, the Dilbar, worth $600million in April this year after thorough financial investigations which involved a complex web of offshore concealments since the yacht is also subject to sanctions.
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Other newspaper reports indicated that since the Russia-Ukraine war commenced, Germany alone has frozen at least 4.88 billion euros of assets.