The British FT reported that in recent years, members of the Assad family and their close associates bought 20 apartments in the City for $ 40 million. The Bell found out the details.
Apartments Assad FT told about the apartments in City in a joint investigation with the anti-corruption organization Global Witness. On the site of the latter, there is an investigation in Russian.
In total, the investigators counted from Assad’s relatives at least 20 apartments in Moscow City with a total area of 4740 square meters. m. Most of the apartments (18) are located in a complex of two skyscrapers "City of Capitals", built by the developer "Capital Group". At the beginning of 2019, 1243 square meters were added to them. m in the tower "Federation" - this is a half of the floor of a skyscraper; Assad’s relatives paid $ 9.5 million for this property alone, Global Witness writes. According to various estimates, they bought from two to four floors in different heights.
The first apartments were bought back in 2013 - two years after the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, when the position of government forces seemed hopeless. But most of all, Assad's relatives bought 11 apartments in September 2016 - exactly one year after the start of the Russian operation in Syria, three months before the liberation of the second largest city in the country, Aleppo. The last deal was completed in June 2019.
The Bell reviewed extracts from the USRN for apartments purchased in 2016. Their data coincide with those given by FT, but in addition to apartments for legal entities associated with the Syrians, 21 objects with an area of 11.1 to 16.6 square meters were recorded. m on the underground floors - this is a parking place, realtors explained to The Bell. Several of them are leased to the subsidiary Alcor & Co, the operator of the L’Etoile chain of stores. Renting cars in the private sector for business leasing is a typical phenomenon in Moscow City, where there is a shortage of parking lots, explains Yurgeneva Realty managing partner, former director of the elite real estate department at Knight Frank Elena Yurgeneva.
8 of these premises are in a 10-year mortgage taken by the Lebanese company Nylam Sal Offshore, follows from extracts received by The Bell. According to FT, this company gave Russian legal entities who bought apartments, loans. In the extracts, the company is indicated as “Nilam Offshore JSC”, its TIN is 9909401567. But there are no legal entities with such TIN in the Russian registry. An interlocutor of The Bell on the real estate market, who asked for anonymity, suggested that so the beneficiary’s lawyers could circumvent the sanctions restrictions - a mortgage with a Russian legal entity does not raise questions, while the Syrian company could attract attention.
Elena Yurgeneva calls Assad’s relatives “either one of the largest or the largest owners” of apartments in the City - according to FT. ” The managing partner of the real estate consulting company Colliers International, Nikolai Kazansky, notes that retail real estate investors in Moscow City often do not advertise themselves - "so we may just not know about the larger owners." But usually such large portfolios are bought out by investors at the construction stage for resale, the situation when such a portfolio was acquired in a completed building is unique, he says.
“Foreigners are often interested in real estate in the City, but rarely get to the deal,” says Yurgeneva. - Mortgage rates in Europe and the USA are much lower, therefore, in terms of financial indicators, the Russian offers look lousy for them. Another thing is when a family cannot acquire real estate in the USA and Europe. ” At least the 2016 deal was supposed to be profitable for buyers at a price - in 2016, apartments in Moscow City did not sell very well, says Nikolai Kazansky from Colliers.