A group of squatters displayed banners and the Ukrainian national flag on the facade of a mansion believed to be owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in Belgrave Square, central London, March 14, 2022, as they occupy it. Oleg Deripaska is one of seven Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the British government.
Tolga Akmen | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON. Squatters have occupied a London mansion believed to be owned by one of the Russian oligarchs under British government sanctions.
Real estate in Belgrave Square – one of the most prestigious areas of London., Located just steps from Buckingham Palace, it is said to be owned by billionaire energy tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned by authorities last week for ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Early Monday morning, protesters occupied the luxury property, decorating it with Ukrainian flags and a sign reading “this property is vacated.”
According to the BBC, the group said it was “doing the job” of the authorities, who have been criticized for their apparent delay in cracking down on members of Putin’s inner circle.
Police in protective gear Reported to have entered the property noon on Monday after reports that squatters were in the territory. It is not clear how the protesters got into the building.
In a statement seen by Sky News, the Metropolitan Police said they had completed their search of the property and were “satisfied” with no protesters inside. They added that they “continue to practice” with those on the balcony.
Details of ownership of the multi-million dollar historic property in Fifth Belgrave Square are unclear. But, Documents of the Deripaska Supreme Court as a beneficial owner over a decade ago, according to Sky.
Public records show that the mansion was originally purchased and is currently owned by Ravellot Limited, an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands. reports the BBC.
People protesting the invasion of Ukraine occupy a mansion reportedly owned by family members of billionaire Oleg Deripaska in London, UK, on Monday, March 14, 2022. the refugees have been accommodated, said one of the protesters.
Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images
At the request of the National Crime Agency, five bank accounts belonging to Graham Bonham Carter, a named Ravellot Limited contact, are currently subject to an asset freeze in connection with his alleged ties to Deripaska.
“We can confirm that the NCA has received two freeze orders in respect of five bank accounts belonging to Mr. Graham Bonham Carter,” the NCA said in a statement shared with CNBC.
“The orders were received on the basis that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the money in the accounts was obtained through the laundering of the funds of a person under US sanctions, namely Oleg Deripaska.”
On Thursday, the British government added Deripaska, founder of EN+, a steel and hydroelectric company, and six other companies to a growing list of Putin allies subject to government sanctions. The sanctions say his assets will be confiscated and travel restricted.
The tycoon, whose fortune comes from the privatization of Russian state assets, has been under US sanctions since 2018.
Protesters have reportedly called for a seven-bedroom mansion, complete with a Turkish bath and home cinema, to be provided for Ukrainian refugees.
It comes after UK Housing Secretary Michael Gove touted a similar idea on Sunday, telling the BBC he was looking into housing migrants on property seized by the government.
“I want to explore an option that would allow us to use the homes and property of sanctioned individuals, as long as they are sanctioned, for humanitarian and other purposes,” he told the BBC.