Fleeing sanctions, Russian billionaires dropping anchor in Dubai

National Weekend Edition /
Apr.April 09, 2022 02:07 PM

Dubai (Getty)

Their yachts are coming in!

Russian billionaires and oligarchs searching for a place to live now that they are shunned by countries upset with Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are increasingly looking to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as a forever port of call.

Forbes is reporting that real estate agents in the city are saying the rich Russians are looking to drop anchor there thanks to the locale’s luxury properties, glitzy beaches, flexible visa program and — most of all — pledged neutrality on Ukraine.

“We are getting increasing requests from Russian oligarchs,” Şerif Nadi Varlı, a broker at Vartur Real Estate, told the magazine. “Those kinds of people are looking for bigger investments, they’re scared to keep their assets in European countries.”

According to the report, at least four wealthy Russian already own there, including fertelizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev has a $29.5 million property on the luxury archipelago of Palm Jumeirah; Albert Avdolyan and wife, Elena, who own two properties together worth $19 million in the same area; Andrei Molchanov, who also owns a $26.5 million home on one of the man-made, palm-tree shaped outcroppings of land; and Pavel Durov, the 37-year-old founder of messaging app Telegram.

And getting in requires oligarch dollars: one property on Palm Jumeirah is presently listed at $68 million, and another recently sold for $76 million, according to the report.

“In the super-luxury segment, we’ve seen crazy, crazy transactions,” Alexander von Sayn-Wittgenstein, CEO of boutique brokerage LUXCAPITAL, told the publication. “Like prices you’ve never seen before.”

Other neighborhoods popular with the new Russian buyers include the six-million-square-foot manmade island Jumeirah Bay, where villas sell for up to $30 million; Emaar Beachfront in Dubai Harbour; Downtown Dubai, home to the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, as well as the Dubai Mall; the Dubai Marina, which includes the La Mer beachfront; and the Jumeirah Beach Residence, another luxury waterfront development.

Russians with extra spending money looking to move to Dubai can easily get in thanks to the United Arab Emirates’ “golden visa” program, which allows long-term residency to foreigners who plunk down $2.7 million in a local company or investment fund.

The U.A.E changes its visa program in 2021, according to the publication, in hopes of attracting “investors, professionals, special talents and their families” to Dubai. The plan includes a “citizenship by investment” scheme that lets foreigners become Emirati citizens through investment in “property.” The report states it isn’t clear how much money is required or what kinds of property are included in order to become a citizen.

[Forbes] — Vince DiMiceli





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