As sanctions intensify against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, so has scrutiny of Russian wealth in America, from yachts, jets and businesses, to, of course, real estate. The U.S. government is moving to freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian businesses and oligarchs, and elected officials are calling for the outright seizure of properties.
“We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday, addressing Russian oligarchs in his State of the Union speech Tuesday. “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”
Billionaire Russian businessmen and other members of the country’s elite have grabbed headlines over the last decade by scooping up luxurious properties for top dollar, particularly in New York City and South Florida. Like other foreign buyers, many have concealed their identities by making acquisitions through LLCs or offshore trusts.
“For years Manhattan has been one of the most popular safe harbors for Russian oligarchs to park their cash, especially via ultra-high-end apartments,” Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine tweeted over the weekend. “It’s time to start seizing their properties.”
It’s not just London. For years Manhattan has been one of the most popular safe harbors for Russian oligarchs to park their cash, especially via ultra-high end apartments.
It’s time to start seizing their properties.#SupportUkraine
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) February 25, 2022
David Friedman, co-founder of the wealth intelligence platform WealthQuotient, estimates that about 5,500 ultra-high net worth Russian individuals, or less than .01 percent of Russia’s total population, hold about $240 billion in real estate worldwide. That averages out to $43 million in real estate per individual, most of which is likely outside of Russia, Friedman said.
The Real Deal analyzed property records, published reports and other data sources to put together a snapshot of where wealthy Russians have bought and sold top-tier real estate in the U.S. It’s important to note that although some of the individuals listed below have been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, none, other than Oleg Deripaska, are currently on the U.S. sanctions list.
Townhouses at 9, 11, 13 and 15 East 75th Street and co-ops at 215 and 225 East 73rd Street in New York (sold)
1200 Ridge Wildcat Drive and 303 Aspen Way in Snowmass, Colorado
Roman Abramovich, who made his fortune in energy and metals in the 1990s and early 2000s, bought four townhouses on New York City’s Upper East Side, three of which he planned to combine into a megamansion. The mogul, who also owns the London-based soccer club Chelsea F.C., transferred ownership of the New York properties to his ex-wife Dasha Zhukova in 2018 for more than $92 million.
Abramovich also owns two homes in Snowmass, Colorado, near Aspen. Property records show he paid $36.4 million for the larger of the two, a 200-acre estate in the Wildcat Ridge neighborhood, and $11.8 million for the Aspen Way home, both in 2008.
Co-op at 785 Fifth Avenue in New York
Eugene Shvidler, a billionaire Russian-American gold mining investor and oil tycoon who is reportedly best friends with Abramovich, owns a co-op at The Park V on Fifth Avenue in New York. He paid $24.5 million for the two-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot unit in May 2018. Shvidler, like Abramovich, made his fortune during the privatization of the oil industry in Russia.
North County Road estate in Palm Beach (sold)
Penthouse at 15 Central Park West in New York
Russian fertilizer billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev’s known real estate purchases include an $88 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West, which he bought for his daughter, and an over 6-acre oceanfront estate in Palm Beach, which he split into three parcels and sold off. Former President Donald Trump sold the Palm Beach mansion to Rybolovlev in 2008 for $95 million, then a record for Florida residential sales, and Rybolovlev sold the divided properties for more than $108 million in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
The homes were also a major source of contention in Rybolovlev’s divorce with his ex-wife, Elena.
Unit 7064 at Palazzo Del Sol, 7064 Fisher Island Drive in Miami Beach (sold)
Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire real estate developer Aras Agalarov, a friend of Putin and former President Donald Trump, owned a condo at Palazzo Del Sol on Fisher Island, an exclusive island in Miami Beach accessible only by boat, ferry or helicopter. Agalarov sold his four-bedroom, 4,738-square-foot unit in 2018 for about $8.5 million, taking a loss on the property he had bought two years earlier for $10.7 million.
Star Island Drive mansion in Miami Beach
Russian-born American billionaire real estate developer Vladislav Doronin lives on Star Island in Miami Beach, where his neighbors include Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Sean Combs, a.k.a. Puff Daddy. Doronin, who said in a statement that he denounced the aggression of Russia on Ukraine, owns the Aman resorts chain of ultra high-end hotels, as well as his real estate development firm OKO Group, which has projects in New York and Miami. Doronin reportedly paid $16 million in 2009 for a waterfront home on Star Island previously owned by NBA star Shaquille O’Neal.
Penthouse at Trump Hollywood, 2711 South Ocean Drive, in Hollywood, Florida
Oleg Misevra, described by the Miami Herald as a Russian coal magnate who has earned Putin’s praise, acquired a six-bedroom, 8,170-square-foot penthouse at Trump Hollywood for $6.8 million in 2010, property records show.
Trousdale Estates mega mansion in Beverly Hills, California
Russian tycoon Danil Khachaturov, who once held a controlling stake in the country’s largest insurance agency, paid $35 million two years ago for a megamansion in Beverly Hills’ Trousdale Estates neighborhood, according to Dirt.
Homes at 11 East 64th Street and 12 Gay Street in New York
A Russian oligarch and billionaire founder of aluminum giant Rusal with close ties to Putin, Oleg Deripaska owned two homes in New York at 11 East 64th Street and 12 Gay Street. Deripaska, who has been banned from entering the U.S., had ownership of the two properties transferred to relatives. He paid $42.5 million and $4.5 million for the two homes, respectively. U.S. officials placed him on a sanctions list in 2018 over his alleged involvement in murder, money laundering, bribery and racketeering, officials said at the time. He has also been linked to Russian organized crime, according to a Trump administration report.
33 East 74th Street in New York
Russian billionaire Alexei Kuzmichev, who made his fortune as head of Alfa Group, the owner of Russia’s Alfa-Bank, paid $42 million for an Upper East Side apartment at 33 East 74th Street in New York in 2016. He also bought a unit in the adjacent building for $15.5 million, which he reportedly wanted to connect to the unit next door. It’s unclear whether Kuzmichev still owns the properties.
Kuzmichev is also a co-founder of the Luxembourg private equity firm LetterOne. Alfa-Bank was sanctioned by the U.S. government on Feb. 24.
Keith Larsen contributed reporting.