Yachts and assets of 15 Russian oligarchs were found

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Spanish authorities have identified assets – including homes, companies and at least one luxury boat – belonging to 15 Russian oligarchs included in the EU sanctions list, an official told Reuters on Thursday.

Mariano Garcia Fresno, head of the anti-money laundering agency, said the agency had been active since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 as oligarchs tried to transfer their shares to associates or associates to relatives. locating them.

“They had already started transferring shares – especially to Spanish companies – or shares in foreign companies,” the Spanish official said.

“We have identified about 15 people from this list (EU sanctions) and another 105 people associated with them or their family members (…) There are people who are less known on the list, but some of them were among the best known ».

Every week since Russia invaded Ukraine, the European Union has imposed new sanctions on Moscow, adding hundreds of top politicians, businessmen and the military to its blacklist.

However, the implementation of sanctions faces legal constraints and difficulties in locating the real owners of assets such as real estate, luxury yachts or bank accounts.

This week, the European Commission announced that it would table legislation to prosecute those trying to avoid sanctions, for example by transferring their assets to family members.

After examining more than 1,000 names among the millions of transactions registered with Spanish notaries since 2004, Garcia Fresno’s office found that the targeted oligarchs had shares in at least 10 Spanish companies and 13 foreign ones.

The information was handed over to the country’s financial intelligence unit and the finance ministry, and in late April, the government confirmed that it had frozen 12 funds and bank accounts linked to five people on the sanctions list. along with three luxury yachts and 23 properties.

Companies affiliated with Russian oligarchs own about 35 properties in Spain, including many luxury homes, Garcia Fresno added, as well as bank accounts and shares in companies operating in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.

His office found that in Spain foreign companies appeared as owners of businesses that owned assets linked to the oligarchs, but although there were two or three intermediaries, the anti-money laundering unit was able to monitor their ownership through data.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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