The king has a responsibility to take care of his castle unless he is restricted by sanctions. This situation occurred with Mikhail Fridman Russian oligarch from Russia and Israel who was under sanctions. He was not allowed to make monthly payments of $50,000 to cover the expenses of his expensive property in North London. In response, he decided to take action and filed a legal challenge in the High Court against the UK government. He contested their decision to deny him the ability to make payments for the maintenance of Athlone House in Highgate.
According to reports from Dailymail, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (Ofis) of the Treasury denied his request, even for a small amount of $3,000 per month. The purpose of this money was to cover expenses such as maintaining a combined lighting, heating, and communications system, as well as paying the salaries of non-security personnel and his driver. Mikhail Fridman Russian Oligarch legal team pleaded with the judge to approve these payments.
While Ofis contended that providing these payments would allow the sanctioned tycoon to uphold his extravagant lifestyle, the historical Athlone House necessitates costly upkeep. Rachel Barnes KC, who represented Mikhail Fridman Russian Oligarch, clarified, “A property as large, old, and culturally significant as Athlone House requires substantial maintenance to prevent deterioration. The most practical approach to ensuring this necessary upkeep is by employing a full-time estate manager and a team of full-time staff.” She further elaborated, “The utility expenses at Athlone House exceed those of many other properties, but it is a one-of-a-kind estate with unique requirements for communications, IT, lighting, heating, and security, particularly considering its art collection.”
Mikhail Fridman Russian Oligarch sought the assistance of Ideaworks, a company that had provided automation services but had not yet been paid. Ideaworks played a crucial role in ensuring the proper functioning of the advanced systems, lighting control, and temperature regulation. Ms. Barnes emphasized the importance of having control over lighting, heating, and windows, as they are essential for any occupant. If these aspects were not controllable, it would have a significant negative impact on the valuable art collection.
The opulent yacht Alfa Nero serves as an example of why air conditioning is crucial for protecting valuable assets. This yacht spends $2,000 every day on diesel fuel to operate its air-conditioning system, ensuring the preservation of its lavish interiors and valuable artwork. The legal dispute took a humorous turn when Ms. Barnes emphasized that her client, Mikhail Fridman Russian oligarch, is a regular feature on the Sunday Times Rich List and possesses a net worth of $13 billion, justifying his requirement for a personal driver. In a light-hearted reply, Ofis pointed out the existence of public transportation as an alternative option.
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