Oligarchs Assets

Almost 200 Elite Russian Oligarchs own land in Scotland

As the world commemorates two years since the invasion of Ukraine, the Scottish Government faces calls to disclose the identities of Russian oligarchs who own land in Scotland.

Scottish Government faces calls to disclose the identities of Russian oligarchs

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has urged the SNP-Green Scottish Government to enhance transparency regarding land ownership in Scotland and to provide more support for Ukrainian refugees residing in temporary accommodations. Approximately one in ten Ukrainians in Scotland are still lodged in temporary housing.

According to the annual report from the Registers of Scotland, there are 27,635 land register titles held by people who live outside the UK.

The USA, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Australia and the Republic of Ireland make up the top five, with more than 10,000 titles.

There are 182 titles registered in the Russian Federation, although many foreign owners use front companies registered in Scotland or in tax havens such as Jersey or the Isle of Man.

Cole-Hamilton has further called on the UK government to expand its sanctions targeting individuals listed in the “Navalny list.” Reflecting on the events of February 2022, he emphasized the need to remember the resilience of Ukrainians and their ongoing struggle for sovereignty amidst the backdrop of geopolitical tensions.

“Instead, the yellow and blue flag of Ukraine still flies proudly. Two years on, there should be no let-up in British resolve.

“It is not an act of charity to supply Ukraine with the tools it needs to defeat Putin, but one of self-interest. If the Russian dictator is not defeated on the battlefield in Ukraine, we will eventually have to face him again elsewhere.”

Mr. Cole-Hamilton emphasized that the UK Government should collaborate with its European allies to bolster military assistance to Ukraine and promptly freeze the assets of all individuals supporting Putin. “For the Scottish Government, there is work to be done too,” he added.

“One in ten Ukrainians remain in temporary accommodation and concerns remain that our land registry allows oligarchs to slip under the radar. My time as a host for Ukrainians fleeing Putin has left a lasting mark. Both of our governments should be doing more to support the people of Ukraine.”

The Ukrainian campaign group Razom We Stand, which is calling for an immediate end to all investment in Russian oil and gas companies, is also marking the second anniversary of the war by urging the G7 to impose full sanctions on Russian energy exports.

The G7 will meet to discuss Russian sanctions following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Svitlana Romako, director of Razom We Stand, emphasized: “The G7 and its leaders in the US and the EU must not only acknowledge the support they have provided to Ukraine, but also confront the stark reality that they have funnelled $600 billion [£473bn] to Russia since the onset of the war through the purchase of Russian fossil fuels.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf is to mark today’s anniversary by attending the Ukrainian memorial service at Edinburgh Castle.

He said: “Scottish Govt remains steadfast in support of the country and its brave citizens. Ukrainians are fighting for freedom, the rule of law, and the right of countries across Europe to co-exist in peace and security.

“As we mourn the sacrifices of the Ukrainian people, we also look ahead positively, hoping for a day soon when Ukraine can live in peace as a free, sovereign, European nation.”

Russian Oligarchs who own property in Scotland

Owning property in a stable democracy such as the UK provides significant security for ill-gotten gains. The UK has been happy to welcome unexplained wealth from Russia and beyond under its Tier 1 investor visa, which, until its hasty abolition last month, had attracted more than 200 Russian millionaires to the UK. Transparency International estimated that Russians accused of corruption or with links to the Kremlin have bought about £1.5 billion of UK property since 2016.

The Russian oligarchs who own property in Scotland include Boris Mints and Vladimir Lisin, both of whom were included in the “Putin List” published by the US Treasury Department in 2018. Additionally, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky and Yuri Shefler are among others who own property in Scotland.

Vladimir Lisin
Vladimir Lisin

Vladimir Lisin, the majority shareholder and chair of Novolipetsk Steel, boasts an estimated net worth of $26 billion. His 1340-hectare Aberuchill Estate in Perthshire, acquired in 2005 for £6.8 million, is owned by Forestborne Ltd, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Evgeny Strzhalkovskiy, son of KGB Colonel Vladimir Strzhalkovskiy, who served alongside Putin and later became chief executive of Norilsk Nickel, acquired Knockdow House and 100 hectares of land in Argyll in 2017. Interestingly, the title is in Evgeny’s name, with an address in Monaco.

Yuri Shefler, owner of SPI Group, a global alcoholic drinks company featuring brands like Stolichnaya vodka, boasts an estimated net worth of $2.4 billion. Allegedly, he owns the 22,000-acre Tulchan Estate on the banks of the River Spey, purchased for a reported £25 million in 2017.

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