Russia Seizes $1 Billion Hotel Sochi Hotel Development From Billionaire Who Criticized Putin And The War

By on December 28, 2022 in ArticlesBillionaire News

By this point we're used to reading headlines and reports about Russian billionaires having their assets like yachts and villas seized by governments seeking to crack down on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. But at least one Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, is in the inverse of that situation, reportedly having an entire hotel complex in the Russian resort city of Sochi seized by the Russian government following his criticism of the war.

The Financial Times reports that Deripaska is "one of the few" billionaires to publicly voice criticism of the invasion from inside Russia, and the court order to seize the Imeretinskiy hotel complex, valued at an estimated $1 billion, actually pre-dates Deripaska's public antiwar statements. The seizure is supposed to be in connection to a land dispute filed by Russia's Sirius Federal Territory (established under President Putin), but the decision to seize the complex reportedly comes after the Kremlin asked Deripaska to tone down his criticisms of the war, including his statement referring to the invasion as "madness." He also tweeted weeks after the war first began: "We need peace as soon as possible, as we have already passed the point of no return."

The seizure could be seen as representing additional pressure by the Russian government on Deripaska, and an attempt to silence dissent of criticism of their war in Ukraine. President Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied this in a statement to FT, saying:

"Sirius is indeed [Putin's] baby, he's the one who came up with the idea…but this has nothing to do with the court cases."

Peskov also minimized Deripaska's own statements about the war:

"He never spoke out against the operation…Like many, he's pushing for everything to be done better and more efficiently… he's stating his point of view."

RogSibAl, Deripaska's company that owned the hotel complex, has essentially been evicted from the property following the ruling, and is facing a separate court ruling to seize its other real estate holdings. Though only recently being reported on publicly, the ruling was made in September of 2022, just six days after the dispute was first filed.

Although Deripaska may or may not be in hot water with his own government, he's also no stranger to US sanctions, which he's reportedly faced since 2018 for his own Kremlin ties. In 2019, he unsuccesfully filed suit against the US Treasury Department over these sanctions.

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