The giant hide-and-seek game between Russian oligarchs and European authorities

Pictures of immovable mega boats plying the ports of La Ciodot, Hamburg or Barcelona and Italian beaches are circulating on social media. Like many symbols of the hunt for the assets of Russian oligarchy close to the Kremlin, launched by Europe and the United States since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. However, the task of the authorities is to identify all the assets (bank accounts, villas, boats, private jets, etc.) targeted by 877 businessmen and politicians. EU (EU) sanctionsIt is only in its infancy to freeze them and dry up the resources of their owners.

After all, the task promises to be difficult, because in the way of oligarchy stand many dangers: shell companies created in tax havens, opaque financial arrangements, imaginary beneficiaries listed in business records. The connection or blurring between these millionaires who owe the privatization of the entire economy of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of their goods. But European governments know it: the investments of Russian oligarchs in Europe are enormous. They are estimated at billions of euros.

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It is in this context that the Confederation of Investigation Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Program (OCCRP) and the British Press-led Press Council Protector, Have joined The world And twenty-two other international media outlets to investigate the assets of these oligarchy, the largest part of which is outside Russia. The results of this census were published in a search engine accessible to the public Russian property monitoring (Russian property monitoring) It is a question of knowing in which countries in Europe, the United States or in other countries the wealth of those close to Vladimir Putin has contributed to keeping him in power so far, politically or financially.

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Since the project was launched a few days before the occupation of Ukraine, investigations have so far focused List of 35 people near the Kremlin Founded in 2021 by Russian political opponent and activist Alexei Navalny – placed under some Western sanctions; Some do not. This Russian asset tracker, enriched over time by OCCRP, offers the first, unprecedented audit of these billionaires’ “offshore” fortunes.

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