Confiscations in Bavaria: Oligarch Usmanow defends himself and speaks of “political persecution”
The Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov is being investigated on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion, among other things. A spokesman describes the investigation as “absurd”.
A week ago, police units stormed the property of the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanow in Rottach-Egern am Tegernsee. Police officers and tax investigators searched the billionaire’s villa and 23 other properties nationwide in Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.
Usanov is accused of money laundering and tax evasion, he is said to have spent funds that were frozen as part of the sanctions against Russian oligarchs after the start of the aggressive war against Russia. In addition, Usanov is said to have done business for Russian President Vladimir Putin as a straw man.
The Russian super-rich now vehemently rejects this: “The investigations are absurd,” said a spokesman for “t-online.de”. Usmanow is said not to have submitted any income tax returns, although he has lived in his villa on Lake Tegernsee since 2014.
One of the allegations: the 69-year-old has “paid his taxes in the place where he made his main investments, in Russia, since 2014,” claims his spokesman. The real estate is owned by a family foundation, Usmanov pays rent for it.
Alisher Usmanov argues with the prosecutor over works of art
The Russian oligarch himself claims that the investigations by the Munich II public prosecutor bear “characteristics of political persecution”. He tries to get back some confiscated art objects. Prosecutors confirmed that four Fabergé eggs were confiscated at Usmanov’s villa.
Of the Easter egg-shaped pieces of jewelery made by the jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé in St. Petersburg during the Tsarist era, there are only 52 copies that each have a value of nine to twelve million euros – if they are actually originals. That’s why there’s a fuss now.
The public prosecutor assumes that these are originals, even if an authenticity check is still pending. Then Usmanov would have had to declare the eggs as assets after being placed on the sanctions lists. The oligarch, in turn, insists that the eggs are just fakes with artificial gems and demands them back. He bought the eggs in Munich as gifts for friends and relatives in Uzbekistan.
Luxury yacht is searched
The authorities had already arrested Usmanov’s luxury yacht “Dilbar” in April. It is said to be worth more than 500 million euros, making it the most expensive yacht in the world.
The official owner is said to be Usmanow’s sister, but the criminal police are checking who is really the beneficial owner. The “Dilbar” was brought to Bremen and searched there on Tuesday to find further evidence.