War in Ukraine: the incredible amount of assets of a Russian oligarch from the Côte d’Azur frozen by the United States


Updated on 01/07/2022 at 11:23

Published on 01/07/2022 at 11:21

Suleyman Kerimov at the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg.
Photo Hlebushek

War in Ukraine: the incredible amount of assets of a Russian oligarch from the Côte d’Azur frozen by the United States


01/07 at 11:21 a.m.

Update 01/07 at 11:23

The US Treasury has made public the freezing of assets in excess of $1 billion of a US-headquartered company controlled by Suleyman Kerimov, a well-known Russian oligarch on the French Riviera.

Cascades of offshore companies belonging to straw men, complex financial arrangements… The United States continues to unwind the thread of the hidden fortune of Suleyman Kerimov, a well-known Russian oligarch on the Côte d’Azur. And he may well have shed light on the opacity of transfers of funds and properties of this very close friend of Vladimir Putin.

The US Treasury has indeed made public the freezing of assets in excess of one billion dollars of a company based in the United States and controlled by Suleyman Kerimov. The name of this company: Heritage Trust.

The survey has “revealed that Kerimov used a complex series of legal structures and front men to conceal his interests in Heritage Trust”, a company located in Delaware (eastern United States).

“Heritage Trust was established in July 2017 for the purpose of holding and managing the assets of Kerimov based in the United States“, according to a statement from the treasury department.“Kerimov retained a real estate interest in Heritage Trust after his appointment, resulting in the blocking of Heritage Trust”.

Real estate, yachts, participation in companies… in total, nearly a billion dollars in assets held by this company have been frozen. A sum that would make him one of the hardest hit Russian oligarchs since the start of the war in Ukraine.

After a long legal fight with the Fiji Islands, his superyacht called Amadea was able to be handed over to the American authorities.

The superyacht Amadea in the port of Cannes, in June 2021.

The superyacht Amadea in the port of Cannes, in June 2021. Photo Facebook/Old Port of Cannes

Since the start of the war in ukraine, the Russian oligarchs are targeted by numerous sanctions from Europe and the United States. And many sanctioned billionaires have their habits on the Côte d’Azur, one of their favorite vacation spots.

Among them, Suleyman Kerimov. Nicknamed “The Great Gatsby”, this Russian senator with an estimated fortune of $4.4 billion took advantage of the post-USSR moment in the 1990s to invest in companies in crisis like Gazprom and built his fortune in the hydrocarbon sector.

He was notably the owner of several exceptional properties in the Alpes-Maritimes, in particular the villa “Yesterday“at Cap d’Antibes or even from the yacht”Polyus Gold”.

“The Kerimov Affair”

This Russian businessman and politician has a rather familiar name on the Côte d’Azur. “The Kerimov Affair” caused a stir in 2014 and caused an earthquake in the real estate sector.

Kerimov was then indicted for tax evasion and money laundering. His arrest took place when he exited his private jet on the tarmac at Nice airport in November 2017. He is accused of having acquired, partly in cash and under nominee, five luxury villas in Cap d’Antibes.

We are talking about 500 to 750 million euros which would have entered French territory clandestinely. The case continued until 2019. Since then lawyers, real estate professionals and bankers have been involved and tried.

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