Oligarchs: money laundering, violation of sanctions: judiciary is investigating against Russians

Money laundering, violation of sanctions: the judiciary is investigating against Russians

Oligarch Alisher Usmanov at the Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) in Moscow.  Photo: Yuri

Oligarch Alisher Usmanov at the Congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) in Moscow. photo

© Yuri Kochetkov/EPA/dpa

A supporter of Putin could have violated the sanctions imposed by the EU - in Germany. There is also money laundering in the millions. The German judiciary determined with a large contingent.

The investigators came when the autumn fog had just cleared over Lake Tegernsee. Not with yelling, but calmly, as eyewitnesses reported, police officers and tax investigators set out to search the villa in the celebrity area south of Munich - and at the same time 23 other properties nationwide. According to circles, the action was directed against the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanovwhich is associated with the buildings.

The Munich II public prosecutor's office did not confirm the identity of the suspect. However, eyewitnesses had observed the emergency services, which the building in Rottach-Egern searched in the morning. There were other missions with a total of around 250 officers in Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.

Have frozen funds been used?

According to investigators, the Russian is suspected in the course of the sanctions imposed after the start of aggressive war on the Ukraine were ordered to have spent frozen funds. He paid for the guarding of his property in Upper Bavaria. There is therefore the initial suspicion of a violation of the Foreign Trade Act, according to the authority. Four other suspects are being investigated for aiding and abetting. They are said to have worked as guards and received money for it.

As can be seen from a briefing by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology to Parliament, until last Friday Germany Assets worth at least around €4.88 billion blocked by EU sanctions. The "Spiegel" had first reported on this.

"The international comparison shows that we still have to do better when it comes to enforcing sanctions," said Marcel Emmerich, chairman of the Greens in the Bundestag's interior committee. The Sanctions Enforcement Act I represents "an emergency solution with important first steps". However, there is still a lack of a centrally responsible federal authority and an effective procedure for investigating assets of unclear origin. "This must now be tackled resolutely in the second law," demanded the interior expert.

suspicion of money laundering

The public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) are not only investigating suspected sanctions, but also money laundering. According to the authorities, the suspect Russian is said to have initiated several transactions of funds between 2017 and 2022 in order to conceal their origin. In doing so, he used his extensive and complex network of companies and corporations, mainly in so-called offshore states. Investigators think it's possible that the money came from crime, most notably tax evasion. According to current knowledge, the volume is in the tens of millions.

Usmanov is considered a close supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukraine policy. The European Union therefore imposed sanctions on February 28, a few days after Russia attacked the neighboring country. The resolution states that Usmanov served as a straw man for Putin and solved his business problems. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, people repeatedly demonstrated in front of the oligarch's villa in Rottach-Egern.

Targeting luxury yacht "Dilbar".

Because of the sanctions, the authorities also arrested the luxury yacht "Dilbar" in April, which is the most expensive yacht in the world with an estimated value of more than 500 million euros. The owner is said to be Usmanow's sister. On Wednesday night, the boat was taken out of the dry dock of a shipyard in Hamburg by tugboats. It is to be moved to Bremen and is expected there on Thursday morning.

"This is about whether the law on sanctions was violated," said BKA President Holger Münch, explaining the searches on Wednesday. With regard to the yacht, the aim is "to generate additional evidence on the question of who these yachts are attributable to". The clarification of the question of who is the real beneficial owner here is necessary in order to ensure that the freezing of assets also has legal validity.

Officials from the federal police, the local police and the financial authorities of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria were also involved in the actions. Previously, the "Spiegel", the Bavarian Radio and the Central German Radio had reported.


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