Searches were carried out today at several properties of a Russian oligarch who has been sanctioned by the EU, the Munich prosecutor’s office said, with sources familiar with the investigation saying that Alisher Usmanov, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Nearly 250 members of the federal police (BKA) and the prosecution of economic crimes took part in the operations which took place in several German states, including Bavaria, Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein, said the prosecutor’s office, which has not officially reveal the name of the oligarch.
Sources close to the investigation pointed out that it is Usmanov, confirming the information of Spiegel magazine.
Investigations at 24 Usmanov properties
The searches were carried out at a total of 24 properties owned by him and four owned by others, according to the magazine.
Usmanov, who in recent years has been spending most of his time in Bavaria, is currently not in Germany, but neither is he in Russia. Investigators believe it is in its birthplace of Uzbekistan, as reported by Spiegel.
The 69-year-old Russian billionaire and former president of the National Fencing Federation is suspected of tax evasion and specifically that he “used his extensive and complex network of companies and enterprises” to conceal the source of several of his transactions from 2017 to 2022. The amount of these transactions estimated at 550 million euros.
At the same time, Usmanov is believed to have asked a security company to monitor his properties in Upper Bavaria even after they were added to the list of European sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
“The aim is to clarify whether sanctions legislation has been breached,” confirmed VKA chief Holger Münch.
Spiegel presented Usmanov as Putin’s “straw man” in several commercial affairs.
German authorities in April seized the world’s largest yacht, the 156-meter Dilbar, worth about $600 million according to Forbes magazine, which belonged to this Russian oligarch. The vessel has been in the port of Hamburg for repairs since October 2021.
Usmanov is sixth in the list of the richest people in Britain, according to the Sunday Times ranking in 2021. He is among dozens of Russian millionaires against whom the West has imposed sanctions.