Russian-Maltese oligarch can’t evict squatters from Amsterdam property

Billionaire Maltese passport-purchaser Yandex founder Arkady Volozh loses legal bid in Dutch court because he’s under EU sanctions

 

A Dutch court has ruled that squatters can effectively continue to stay at the multi-million-euro property owned by a member of Malta’s rouges gallery of passport buyers, Yandex founder and owner Arkady Volozh, because the Maltese citizen is under EU sanctions over of his ties to Vladimir Putin and his assistance in the invasion of Ukraine.

Volozh, a Maltese citizen since 2016, had taken court action after squatters occupied the building in October to have them evicted, arguing that the premises are being renovated, a valid reason to leave a building empty under Dutch property laws. The conversion project into luxury apartments began in 2020.

In its ruling, the court cited the EU freezing order and noted that the ongoing renovation work could lead to an increase in Volozh’s assets, and that if he planned to rent the apartments, that, too, would be banned under EU law.

The court also threw out Volozh’s claim that he planned to move to Amsterdam with his family, observing that he currently lives outside the EU and no heads the Amsterdam-based Russian internet search engine Yandex

Volozh stepped down from the role in June after being EU-sanctioned.

The Netherlands is the second EU state to take action against Volozh and his EU holdings.

The Shift reported in September how Finnish authorities, acting on EU sanctions levied against Russian oligarchs and friends of the Kremlin in June, seized Volozh’s assets in Finland.

Two years after acquiring his Maltese citizenship Volozh featured on the so-called ‘Kremlin list’ that the US government published in January 2018. The list identified 96 Russian oligarchs and 114 senior politicians close to Putin and who were in some way associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The EU later took steps of its own, and last June sanctioned Volozh and two others over their actions related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“As founder and CEO of Yandex, he is supporting, materially or financially, the Government of the Russian Federation and is responsible for supporting actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” the EU sanction cites.

The EU also accuses Yandex of “promoting State media and narratives in its search results, and de-ranking and removing content critical of the Kremlin, such as content related to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

In its formal sanction notice, the EU notes how Russian state-owned banks such as Sberbank and VTB are Yandex shareholders and investors.

The sanction notice explains how, “As founder and CEO of Yandex, he is supporting, materially or financially, the Government of the Russian Federation and is responsible for supporting actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

“Volozh is a leading businessperson involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine.”

It is not known what, if any, assets Volozh holds in Malta, or what shares in any companies, shell or otherwise, he may have registered in Malta.

                           
                           
                               
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