Italy Seizes More Than £118 Million In Yachts And Villas From Russian Oligarchs
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Italian police have seized villas and yachts worth $156 million (£118m) from five high-profile Russian oligarchs who have been placed on sanctions lists following Putin's attack on Ukraine.
The seized luxury properties are in some of the country's prime real estate locations - including Sardinia, Lake Como and Tuscany.
Reuters report that among the seized assets are a luxury villa, on the island of Sardinia, owned by billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov, and a 17th-century house near the Tuscan city of Lucca, owned by member of the Russian parliament Oleg Savchenko.
A list issued by Prime Minister Mario Draghi's office showed the most valuable asset now in police hands is a yacht, called Lady M, belonging to Alexey Mordashov, Russia's richest man.
A second yacht owned by Gennady Timchenko has also been impounded. Timchenko is considered to be one of Putin's closest associates.
The two yachts have been impounded in ports at Imperia and Sanremo.
A number of properties valued around €8 million have been confiscated state TV host Vladimir Soloviev.
Soloviev commented on this to The Daily Beast, saying: “Suddenly someone makes a decision that this journalist is now on the list of sanctions. And right away it affects your real estate. Wait a minute. But you told us that Europe has sacred property rights."
Numerous Russian oligarchs have bought Italian villas over the past 20 years, with many outlets reporting that there may be even more asset seizing in the coming days.
Mirko Idili, a coordinator of the CISL union in Sardinia, has warned that these sanctions on the super-rich Russians could cause chaos on the island, negatively affecting the economy and putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk.
These seizures come amidst growing pressure across Europe to place sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
According to Reuters, French authorities have seized four cargo vessels and one luxury yacht.
While he has not been targeted for UK sanctions, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has announced that he will be selling Chelsea Football Club, promising to donate money from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine
It's not just Europe who have been threatening sanctions. On Thursday, US White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: "We want him [Putin] to feel the squeeze, we want the people around him to feel the squeeze."