Rich Russians since the 1990s. were the best clients of the real estate firm Beauchamp Estates Gary Hersham. On the walls of his office in the prestigious London area of Mayfair hang, like hunting trophies, photos of the company's expensive houses with details of transactions. On one of them, for example, it is written: "39-40 Lowndes Square, London, December 2013, £ 55m". (The amount of 55 million pounds at that time was approximately $ 89.7 million - Vedomosti.)
However, recently the situation in the UK has changed. There is a growing louder criticism that London property has become a safe haven for corrupt autocrats and businessmen with dubious capital from around the world. "The Russians were a bit jaded with money," Hersham remembers. - They wanted to be better friends, have [home] better, pay more. But now everything is different. "
The British government has promised to analyze on what grounds earlier visas were issued to hundreds of wealthy Russians. The owner of the Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich was delayed issuing a new visa, reports appeared that he would have to confirm the legality of the funds he invested in British assets to receive it.
Problems with the visa Abramovich - a bad signal for the rest of his people, Hersham believes. "The situation with Roman Abramovich is much worse than it seems," he asserts. - How many other people will think: "If they can do this to him, then they can do this to me?"
Previously, Beauchamp received 20 calls a week from wealthy Russians wishing to buy accommodation in London. But the golden days have passed, and now Hersham marks two types of Russian clients. The first want to sell real estate, because they need money, and often this is due to the fact that Western sanctions have hit their business. The latter sell because they want to leave the country, while the British authorities did not ask too many questions about the origin of their condition.
In the end, the situation on the market is stabilizing, Hersham hopes. But he worries that London will become a less hospitable city in relation to rich people. "Safe harbor means that your life and health are not in danger, your business, property, children and wife are safe, and society accepts you. You can go out and speak Russian, Arabic or any other language, "he argues.