German authorities conducted a court-ordered raid on a lakeside villa owned by a Russian national liable to EU sanctions and asset confiscations.
Penalised Russian National’s Villa Raided
On Thursday, the German police, together with customs agents and tax investigators in the southern German state of Bavaria raided the villa of an unrevealed Russian national.
The court-ordered search states that the person is constrained to EU sanctions and asset dispossessions. These punitive measures were put in place following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
“Due to tactical reasons related to the investigation, no further information can be provided,” customs officials said.
The authorities raided his villa in Rottach-Egern at Tegernsee, a resort town in Bavarian Alp’s famous lake. It’s about 50 kilometres southeast of Munich, Bavaria’s capital. They also sequestered numerous luxury cars such as BMW and Maybach.
According to the Central Office for Sanctions Enforcement (ZfS) officials, at least 30 investigators were involved in the raid. They added the villa was not their only target but also raided other Tegernsee and Munich properties the Russian national owned.
EU laws specify that all assets kept by any sanctioned person will be frozen. Additionally, it’s non-transferrable or disposed of, including travel bans.
In September 2022, the ZfS agents also conducted a similar raid on Alisher Usmanov, another Russian oligarch. He was implicated in money laundering and violated EU sanctions. There were 250 agents involved in the coordinated investigations throughout Germany.
The European Union, including the US and other Western nations, have specified sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine. Such measures include travel bans and the freezing of the assets of several Russian government members and specific Russian businessmen.
Alisher Usmanov is the Target
Russian-Uzbek businessman, Alisher Usmanov was the target of the raid according to sources.
“There can be no reason for suspicion against Mr Usmanov, who has always duly declared the personal property that was lawfully acquired by him, in addition to disclosing the funds with which he acquired these assets,” said Usmanov’s spokesperson in response to a request for comment.
The spokesperson added that Usmanov doesn’t own the trust he established and had no right to control or handle its assets. Moreover, the Russian businessman has no means of knowing what’s happening to the property owned by the trust.
The German customs authority’s sanctions office organised a special task called “Matryoshka.” The mission enabled officers to conduct search warrants for Usmanov’s properties in greater Munich and Tegernsee in Bavaria.