Western sanctions and economic freezes continue to tighten around the necks of Russian leaders and business people. French authorities have reportedly seized a $120 million mansion that belongs to one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs, Roman Abramovich.
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This massive and historic home is located on the ritzy Riviera. It was previously a home leased by King Edward VIII when he abdicated his position on the British throne and married an American divorcée named Wallis Simpson.
This is just one of twelve homes that Abramovich owns in France. They have all now been seized in the past few weeks, according to the Daily Mail. The authorities in France are increasing the pressure on the activities of very rich Russians who are active in their nation. They hope to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin and cause him to withdraw from the war in Ukraine.
Abramovich has a net worth of $8.3 billion, and he has close ties to President Putin. There is no doubt that these moves by French officials will have an effect, the home on the French Riviera is said to be very important to the Russian oligarch.
The home is known as Château de la Croë, Abramovich bought it in 2001 and then spent approximately $40 million on renovations. He added a rooftop swimming pool, a massive gym, and a home theater to the mansion. It was first built in 1926. The house has 12 bedrooms and eight bathrooms and it sits on 12 lush acres of land just a matter of a few feet from the Mediterranean Sea.
King Edward VIII started leasing the home in 1938, only two years after willingly leaving the British throne. He used the mansion as a vacation home with his newlywed wife, Wallis Simpson. Together, they hosted some of the most important and powerful people in the world. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, were there when they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 1948.
The French have been busy since Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine at the end of February. According to the Daily Mail, they have seized and frozen 33 different properties from Russians since the beginning of the war.
One source said that freezing property means that it cannot be sold or used for rental income. The hope is that these powerful Russian Oligarchs will pressure Putin to end the war. This endeavor is a major part of the total program including sanctions from the west against the Russian Federation.
It’s not just properties being seized, French authorities are also seizing massive yachts and helicopters from rich Russians. One source said that the total value of assets frozen by France is more than $27 billion.
According to Page Six, one source indicated that Abramovich was forced to ask his Hollywood and U.S. wealthy friends to each lend him $1 million so that he could stay afloat financially because of all his frozen assets. His bank accounts have been frozen in the United States and the United Kingdom. In the UK, Abramovich owns the Chelsea Football Club. Although last month the league ordered him to sell the club after being sanctioned by the British government.
This oligarch is also facing heat from the island country of Jersey, part of the Channel Islands located off the coast of Normandy. The Financial Times reported that Abramovich has moved a number of his investments from the British Virgin Islands to Jersey in recent years.
Jersey External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said the island would take “further measures” coinciding with actions by the UK.
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“Officers continue to work closely with UK counterparts, and we are ready to take further measures to ensure Jersey’s response is in line with the international community,” Gorst said.
How long will it take for Putin to feel the squeeze that his oligarchs are feeling?