UK Boldly Seizes $13 Billion From Russian Oligarchs’ Assets

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The U.K. government has undertaken what is reportedly its largest asset seizure ever, bringing Russian oligarchs’ assets worth up to $13 billion under its control. The targeted oligarchs are associates of Roman Abramovich and include Eugene Tenenbaum and David Davidovich. The move, U.K. authorities said, “will prevent these assets from being repatriated to Russia and used to fund Putin’s war machine.” Officials in the country also indicated that they launched this seizure in coordination with authorities in Jersey, a self-governing island off the British coast that’s legally and culturally connected to the U.K. through various means. Recently, Jersey froze more than $7 billion worth of assets suspected of ties to Abramovich, who’d been named in 2018 as the wealthiest resident of the Channel Islands, of which Jersey is a part. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss remarked as follows:

‘We are tightening the ratchet on Putin’s war machine and targeting the circle of people closest to the Kremlin. We will keep going with sanctions until Putin fails in Ukraine. Nothing and no one is off the table.’

Apparently, Abramovich passed off control to Tenenbaum of a company called Evrington Investments Limited “immediately following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine,” as U.K. authorities described the timeframe. Davidovich subsequently assumed control of the company last month. Meanwhile, Davidovich also received control of Norma Investments from Abramovich on the day Russia invaded Ukraine, and — again on that day, Abramovich passed off control to Davidovich of a high-dollar yacht called the Aquamarine. The Russian invasion of Ukraine that led to the currently unfolding war took place very early in the morning, meaning it would seem as though these transfers took place immediately after the conflict began — rather than before, which could suggest some kind of foreknowledge of the war. Davidovich has confirmed that he owns the yacht in question.

Numerous pricey yachts have been among the Russian oligarch-linked assets targeted by authorities worldwide — in Germany, officials recently confirmed the seizure of what’s apparently the world’s largest yacht, by weight. That vessel — linked to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov — is called the Dilbar, and it’s apparently worth somewhere between $600 million and $735 million, making it another remarkably valuable seizure by governing authorities. The U.S. has so far conducted at least one seizure of an oligarch-linked yacht, although it’s provided information relevant to seizures conducted by other governments. Officials in the U.S. have obtained additional seizure warrants, Attorney General Merrick Garland said. Relatedly, Ukraine itself recently took additional action against assets linked to those allied with Putin. After taking Ukrainian political leader Viktor Medvedchuk back into custody following his escape from the house arrest he’d been under on treason allegations, officials in the country have touted the seizures of over 150 pieces of various forms of property tied to Medvedchuk and his wife. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Medvedchuk was involved with Russian plans to topple Ukraine’s government.