The British authorities have begun a new stage in the fight against the legalization of criminal incomes by foreigners. First of all, the so-called politically significant persons fall under suspicion. Forbes decided to check which of the largest Russian billionaires it can prevent
January 1, 2018 in the UK will enter into force a new law "On Criminal Finance", which will allow British courts to send to foreign owners of assets in the UK a so-called request for status of property of unknown origin (unexplained wealth orders, UWO). This means that the owner of the companies, real estate, bank accounts and other property that caused questions from the state authorities, will have to explain the origin of the funds.
The new rules will affect "politically exposed persons" (PEP) and those suspected of involvement in serious crimes, while their assets located in the UK are worth more than £ 50,000. According to the norms of the European Union, "politically significant" are considered former or current state employees and employees of state enterprises. The new English law "On Criminal Finance" extends the concept of PEP to family members of the above-mentioned individuals, their close associates or persons connected with them in other ways.
Property in the UK is in the hands of many Russian billionaires. We selected five of the wealthiest participants in the Russian list of Forbes, owning assets in the United Kingdom, and tried to understand who could theoretically affect this law. At the request of Forbes, the analytical agency LexisNexis, which carries out the due diligence of organizations and individuals, using the Lexis Diligence resource, has checked five Russian billionaires - Vladimir Lisin, Alisher Usmanov, Mikhail Fridman, Herman Khan, Roman Abramovich for their presence on the Politically Exposed Person.
The analysis was conducted on the basis of World Compliance databases (database of "politically significant persons", members of their families and immediate environment) and Info4c PEP Desk Database (the list includes about 450,000 "politically significant persons" from 240 countries and territories). The results were unexpected: all businessmen in both bases were classified as PEP or Ex-PEP (former PEP).
The state: $ 16.1 billion (No. 3 in the Russian rating of Forbes)
Category (World Compliance, LexisNexis): PEP. Rationale: Honorary Consul of the Republic of San Marino in the Russian Federation, appointed on 13 May 2002.
Category (info4c, LexisNexis): ex-PEP. Justification: Former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sayan Aluminum Plant. Not listed as PEP in the Info4c database since July 2006.
Assets: Vladimir Lisin purchased the Aberuchill Castle Estate in the 16th century in Perthshire for £ 6.8 million in 2005. This transaction was the most expensive in the Scottish real estate market in 2005.
The area of the estate is 1300 hectares, there you can hunt grouse and reindeer and fish. Also on the estate are about a dozen houses and cottages, a farm and almost 300 hectares of forestry. In the castle itself there are five reception rooms, a billiard room and 13 bedrooms with bathrooms.
State: $ 15.2 billion (No. 5 in the Russian rating)
Category (World Compliance, LexisNexis): PEP. Rationale: President of the International Fencing Federation (06 December 2008 - 2020).
Category (info4c, LexisNexis): ex-PEP. Justification: Former Director General of OOO Gazprominvestholding. It is not listed as PEP in the Info4c database since November 2016.
Assets: Alisher Usmanov is the second largest shareholder of Arsenal, a billionaire owns 30%. His USM Holdings owns a number of properties in the UK. In 2004, the businessman spent $ 18.5 million on an old mansion Sutton Place in Surrey, and then another $ 77 million for a mansion in London, Beechwood House.
In the ranking of the wealthiest residents of the United Kingdom in 2017 by The Sunday Times, the owner of USM Holdings took the fifth place.
Status: $ 14.4 billion (No. 7 in the Russian rating of Forbes)
Category (World Compliance, LexisNexis): PEP. Justification: Vladislav Yurievich Surkov, aide to the President of the Russian Federation.
Category (info4c, LexisNexis): ex-PEP. Rationale: ex-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tyumen Oil Company (TNK-BP). It is not listed as PEP in the Info4c database since 2013.
Assets: Mikhail Fridman in early 2016 for £ 65 million acquired the Victorian mansion Athlone House in the north of London and 2 hectares of adjoining territory. The billionaire pledged to restore it for £ 80 million. In the renovated mansion there will be six bedroom suites, a cigar room, a gym, a yoga room and an underground pool.
Most of the assets of the founder of Alfa Group today is concentrated abroad, they are managed by the holding company LetterOne. A number of divisions of the company are registered in the UK, including LetterOne Technology (UK) LLP, which owns the shares of Alfa Group in Vympelcom and Turkcell, LetterOne Treasury Services LLP, which invests in the free funds of Letter One, L1 Energy Limited, Luxembourg group L1 Energy, and others.
In March 2015, LetterOne for $ 5.5 billion acquired the oil and gas company DEA from the German RWE. This company also had deposits on the British shelf of the North Sea. The deal was approved by all countries in which the DEA operates, except for Great Britain. In London, it was felt that L1 or its owners could be subject to sanctions. DEA was forced to sell its British business to the Swiss chemical company Ineos, the deal was closed in December 2015.
Friedman has other interests in the United Kingdom - in early 2015, for example, LetterOne bought Pure, the owner of the luxury student hostel chain in London, for $ 824 million. In December 2016, L1 announced the creation of a holding company, L1 Retail, which will invest in retail networks abroad.
Status: $ 9.3 billion (No. 11 in the Russian rating of Forbes)
Category (World Compliance, LexisNexis): PEP. Justification: Former Chairman of the Board of Directors of OAO Oil and Gas Company Slavneft (June 30, 2005 - March 5, 2013).
Category (info4c, LexisNexis): ex-PEP. Rationale: Former Executive Director of Tyumen Oil Company (TNK-BP) and ex-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Slavneft. It is not listed as PEP in the Info4c database since September 2015.
Assets: Herman Khan, along with Mikhail Fridman, is co-owner of LetterOne holding company, a number of divisions of which (LetterOne Technology (UK) LLP, Letter One Treasury Services LLP, Letter One, L1 Energy Limited, part of the Luxembourg group L1 Energy, etc.) registered in the UK.
Khan also has personal assets in the UK - in 2006 he purchased two apartments on Eaton Square from the family of the late Harold Lever, former labor minister, worth £ 13.5 million. In 2010, the businessman bought a house in London on the same Eaton Square for $ 91 million (£ 62 million).
Status: $ 9.1 billion (No. 12 in the Russian rating of Forbes)
Category (World Compliance, LexisNexis): PEP. Justification: Former chairman of the Duma of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (October 22, 2008 - July 2, 2013)
Category (info4c, LexisNexis): ex-PEP. Justification: ex-governor of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, former main shareholder of Sibneft. Not listed as PEP in the database Info4c since 2008.
Assets: Roman Abramovich since 2003 owns the English football club Chelsea. In 2017, Forbes estimated the value of the club at $ 1.845 billion. The owner of Millhouse owns a mansion on Kensington Street Gardens, which in 2014 entered the top ten most expensive houses in the world according to CompareCamp.