Sanctioned Usmanov: Russia's fifth-richest person no longer owned his assets

Putin and Alisher Usmanov

Sanctioned oligarch Alisher Usmanov, Russia's fifth-richest person, previously transferred his assets to trusts and no longer owned them: report.

Usmanov businessman has been sanctioned by the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.

The UK government identified two palaces owned by Usmanov when announcing sanctions against the businessman.

Usmanov's spokesman said that the property was placed in trusts, which he does not own.

Alisher Usmanov, a Russian billionaire, has been sanctioned by the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland as governments scrambled to freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs amid the war in Ukraine.

But despite the wave of sanctions, reports suggest the billionaire's assets may still be out of governments' reach. The Guardian reported that Usmanov previously put hundreds of millions of dollars in assets - including most of his UK properties and his luxury yacht - into irrevocable trusts, citing a spokesperson for the businessman. Such chests cannot be modified after creation.

"From that moment on, Mr. Usmanov did not own it, was not able to manage it or deal with its sale, but could only use it on a lease basis," the billionaire's spokesman told The Guardian. "Mr. Usmanov withdrew from the funds' beneficiaries and donated his beneficial rights to his family."

The UK government said on 3 March that Usmanov owned mansions worth tens of millions of dollars in the country.

Usmanov's spokesman did not tell the Guardian when the funds were set up but told Reuters that all of the billionaire's holdings were transferred in 2006.

"All of Mr. Usmanov's property was settled into irrevocable trust funds long before the sanctions came into effect," the spokesman told Reuters. 

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates Usmanov to be the fifth richest person in Russia, with $18.7 billion. He founded USM, a holding company, in 2012 to consolidate his interests in a variety of industries, including metals, communications, and technology.

The two palaces the British government said belonged to Usmanov were linked to a network of trusts and companies registered in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, the BBC reported.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Reuters that the country's sanctions would have a "significant impact" on Usmanov.

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