NEW YORK CITY (The Hill) — As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rages on, calls have grown louder for the U.S. government to impose sanctions on oligarchs who have their wealth stashed away in luxury property. During his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden pledged to apply more pressure on Russia and to go after the country’s oligarchy with wealth in the U.S.
“We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets,” Biden said. “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.” Last week, the Department of Justice announced it was launching a team to enforce sanctions on Russian oligarchs—dubbed the task force KleptoCapture.
Russian oligarchs have purchased expensive property in major cities across the U.S. for years, with New York City serving as an especially hot spot for wealthy Russians to invest in pricy real estate. But tracking the ownership of those apartment sales is tricky, with many oligarchs able to hide their identities behind limited liability companies, shell companies, and trusts.
Here is a shortlist of Russian oligarchs and their business partners who have reportedly bought luxury apartments, penthouses, or townhouses in New York City.
Abramovich, a Russian oligarch and the owner of the Chelsea football club—which he acknowledged on Wednesday that he is seeking to sell—has millions of dollars connected to him in New York City real estate. The 55-year-old is currently worth $13.1 billion, according to Bloomberg, and is the largest shareholder of Evraz, a top Russian steelmaking company.
Abramovich’s most recent purchase was in 2017, when he bought a fourth townhouse along with another property in Manhattan’s Upper East Side for his planned megamansion for a combined $96 million, according to Business Insider.
Eventually, the fourth townhouse was dropped and Abramovich opted to create his monster-sized mansion by combining the buildings at 9, 11 and 13 E. 75th Street. The nearby apartment, located on the fourth floor of 215 E. 73rd St, is worth $900,000, according to the New York Post. Ownership of the properties was transferred in 2018 to his now ex-wife Dasha Zhukova.
Russian oligarch Rybolovlev, who made his fortune in the Russian fertilizer business, purchased a penthouse at 15 Central Park West for a record setting $88 million for his daughter in 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition to being the “fertilizer king,” Rybolovlev is also the owner of Monaco Football Club.
Russian-American oil tycoon billionaire Shvidler, who is reportedly a friend and business partner of Abramovich, bought a $2.5 million two-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side at 785 Fifth Avenue in 2018. The property was previously owned by Dreamworks founder David Geffen, according to The New York Observer.
Oligarch and businessman Kuzmichev is also connected to property in the city. Kuzmichev is the co-founder of Russia’s largest private bank, Alfa Bank, and one of several oligarchs backing an investment fund called LetterOne. The billionaire purchased a pair of neighboring apartments on the Upper West Side for a combined $57.5 million five years ago. Kuzmichev has since supported his colleague, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Alpha Group Mikhail Fridman, in condemning Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Billionaire Putin ally Oleg Deripaska, who made his money in the aluminum business, has been connected to a townhouse in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village at 12 Gay Street. FBI agents raided the townhouse as well as another property Deripaska’s relatives own in Washington, D.C., in October of last year, according to The Washington Post.