As pressure grows on Vladimir Putin to stop his brutal invasion of Ukraine, the Italian government has taken away £118 million worth of high-end boats and villas from oligarchs from Russia who own them. Several European governments are taking superyachts and other assets from billionaires who are on sanctions lists. In the last few days, Italian police have seized 143 million euros worth of high-end boats and villas in some of the country’s most beautiful places, like Sardinia, the Ligurian coast, and Lake Como.
Luigi Di Maio, the Italian foreign minister, told Italian state TV on Friday that Italy was going to start taking property from oligarchs who are close to Vladimir Putin. This is what he said:
To stop Putin’s attack, we must be able to bring him to the table. He won’t go with niceties.
A superyacht belonging to an oligarch who is good friends with Putin was quickly seized by Italian financial police in the port of San Remo.
Alexei Mordashov’s yacht, the Lady M, was also seized. It has six suites and is estimated to be worth 65 million euros, according to government officials. Alisher Usmanov’s home was taken from him on the Emerald Coast in northern Sardinia, which has long been a playground for the world’s richest people. The German government said this week that they had not seized Usmanov’s yacht in Hamburg’s harbor.
Putin keeps all of his money with the oligarchs, said William Browder, a US-born financier and human rights activist; who was once a major investor in Russia but ran into trouble with the government in the late 2000s. Browder is now based in London and New York City.
As part of its response to the Russian sanctions, Germany’s economy ministry said it was implementing them swiftly and effectively. It didn’t say which assets had been taken or how many, though. In the Mediterranean resort of La Ciotat, a yacht linked to Igor Sechin; a Putin ally who runs the Russian oil company Rosneft, has been seized by French police.
French officials said Thursday that the crew was ready to leave as soon as they arrived; even though repairs were still going on. As a result of the invasion of Ukraine; the government said on Saturday that it will make it easier for the UK to punish Russian oligarchs. It will also align those sanctions with those imposed by the EU and the US. It has been said that the UK hasn’t done enough to stop oligarchs; from using their illegal money to buy luxury real estate in London, which is a popular place to go.
The government said the bill would be pushed through the House of Commons on Monday so that it could become law “as soon as possible.” The UK has already put a lot of sanctions on Russian oligarchs, banks, and businesses; as well as banned Russian planes and ships because of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists on Saturday; that the British sanctions regime leaves them with no choice; but to take retaliatory proportional harsh measures. As far as London is concerned, this is the last choice. Such a development shows us once again that Britain’s foreign policy is based on fear of Russia and the goal of weakening the Russian state.