Ukraine protesters invade £25million Knightsbridge mansion of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska days after billionaire oil tycoon was targeted by crippling UK sanctions
Protesters today occupied a £25million Belgravia home linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch days after the billionaire oil tycoon was hit with crippling sanctions.
The activists broke into 5 Belgrave Square just after midnight before hanging Ukrainian flags and a banner reading, ‘The property has been liberated’ and ‘Putin go f*** yourself’.
The mansion belongs to the family of Oleg Deripaska, one of seven oligarchs to be sanctioned by the UK government last week for having ‘blood on their hands’.
The activists broke into 5 Belgrave Square just after midnight before hanging Ukrainian flags and a banner reading, ‘The property has been liberated’ and ‘Putin go f*** yourself’
The mansion belongs to the family of Oleg Deripaska, one of seven oligarchs to be sanctioned by the UK government last week for having ‘blood on their hands’
Roman Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the UK Government today.
The Government estimates his wealth at more than £9billion and notes his stakes in steel giant Evraz, Norilsk Nickel and ownership of Chelsea FC.
‘He is one of the few oligarchs from the 1990s to maintain prominence under Putin,’ a Government spokesman said.
The other oligarchs sanctioned today are:
- Oleg Deripaska: Estimated wealth of £2billion and a multi-million-pound Uk property portfolio. Subject to US sanctions since 2018. Has stakes in En+ Group, a major extractives and energy company which owns UC Rusal, one of the world’s major aluminium producers.
- Igor Sechin: Chief Executive of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. The Government said he is ‘particularly close and influential ally of Putin’. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
- Andrey Kostin: Chairman of VTB bank, the second largest bank in Russia. A ‘close associate of Putin’ who has ‘long supported Kremlin objectives through VTB Bank’. Net worth of £379 million. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
- Alexei Miller: Chief executive of of energy company Gazprom. Served under Putin when autocrat was mayor of St Petersburg. Already sanctioned by the US.
- Nikolai Tokarev: President of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft. Former KGB agent who served alongside Putin in East Germany. Already sanctioned by the US and EU.
- Dmitri Lebedev: Chairman of Bank Rossiya, which is ‘widely considered to be the Kremlin’s private bank’. Sanctioned by the US in 2016.
5 Belgrave Square – considered London’s most expensive terraced house – is one of London’s most exclusive addresses, and previously to the society diarist Sir Henry ‘Chips’ Channon MP.
A Met spokesman said: ‘Police were called shortly after 01:00hrs on Monday, 14 March to a residential property in Belgrave Square, SW1.
‘Officers attended and found that a number of people had gained entry and hung banners from upstairs windows. Officers remain at the location.’
Deripaska has deep ties to the British establishment, and once hosted Peter Mandelson and George Osborne on his yacht in Corfu.
As a result of the sanctions announced on Thursday, he was hit with an asset freeze and banned from any transactions with UK individuals and businesses.
The tycoon claimed there was ‘not a single fact’ to support the measures, and suggested he could challenge them in court.
In a blistering tweet, he wrote: ‘Since there’s not a single fact in support of Boris’ cabinet’s fantasies it will be for the courts and the police to decide the future for all in this sanctions story.’
Deripaska was embroiled in a 2008 row dubbed Yachtgate, after his meetings with Mr Mandelson and Mr Osborne were revealed.
Both men met the industrialist on his yacht, with Mr Osborne accused of trying to solicit a donation for the Tory party – something he denies.
Lord Mandelson, who was then an EU trade commissioner, stayed on the Queen K off the Greek island.
He went on to become business secretary in Gordon Brown’s government as a Labour peer.
By the time they met Deripaska had already been targeted by the United States, which cancelled his visa in 2007.
The Russian is believed to have a fortune of £3.2billion. Last year, Isle of Wight MP used Parliamentary Privilege to describe him as ‘one of President Putin’s most loyal oligarchs’.
Deripaska, who is a grandson by marriage to the late leader of the Soviet Union Boris Yeltsin, has been sanctioned by the US since 2018 over alleged links to the Russian government, including allegations of cyber-attacks and election meddling.
He called the claims ‘a lie’, adding: ‘The idea that I am some kind of ”Kremlin operative”… is clearly idiotic nonsense.’
Deripaska, who was once Russia’s richest man, was one of seven people targeted by the Government on Thursday
Deripaska’s yacht, ‘Queen K’, anchors in Bodrum district of Turkey’s southwestern province Mugla, Turkey
In a bitter £650million legal battle at the High Court in 2012, he was alleged to have ties to brutal organised crime gangs which emerged after the collapse of Communism in the former Soviet Union.
He vehemently denied the allegations – revealed in legal papers filed as part of the case – and counter-claimed that he was the victim of an ‘old-fashioned protection racket’ run by the Mafia-style gangs.
Deripaska said he had been forced to pay more than half a billion dollars to the gangs over seven years and had feared for his safety and that of his family.
His one time business partner, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, has been hit with the same measures – as have Rosneft chief Igor Sechin and four more described as being in Putin’s ‘inner circle’.
After the Corfu meeting with Deripaska was revealed, Mr Osborne admitted meeting him on four occasions over the course of a weekend in the Mediterranean in August 2008.
He insisted they had not discussed donations, which are allowed only from UK-registered voters, bbbut later admitted the meetings were ‘a mistake’.
Mandelson also denied any wrongdoing, telling the Guardian: ‘What is important is not where you meet somebody or how long you meet them for but what you do during the meeting.
‘In my case, I offered no favours and I received no favours, unlike George Osborne, who was holding conversations around his visits in order to obtain a financial contribution to the Conservative party.’
The oligarch was embroiled in a 2008 row dubbed Yachtgate, after his meetings with Mr Mandelson and Mr Osborne were revealed.
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