Vladimir Putin’s judo training partner fights his ex-wife in a London courtroom for the ownership of a luxurious British mansion with tennis courts, a swimming pool and a panic room – despite the fact that none of them are allowed to live in the UK
Russian billionaire oligarch Arkady Rotenberg, 68, a childhood friend of Putin, has been banned from entering the UK since 2014, when the EU imposed sanctions on him after his company built a 20-foot bridge. km between Russia and Crimea, the Ukrainian territory which Russia annexed illegally. His ex-wife, Natalia, 39, an interior designer, no longer lives in Britain because the Home Office refused to renew her visa after 2018.
That didn’t deter them from choosing UK courts to argue over the fate of Ribsden Manor, near Bagshot in Surrey, which was bought for $ 35million in 2012. A year later, the couple broke down. separated, starting lengthy divorce proceedings.
The dispute remained secret until 2018, when the British newspaper The temperature rescinded confidentiality orders granting Natalia anonymity.
In 2016, the High Court ordered Arkady, one of Russia’s richest men and estimated at some $ 2.7 billion, to transfer ownership of the property to his ex-wife as part of a financial settlement negotiated in 2016. The temperature has now reported, however, that the issue has returned to court due to the complex offshore structures surrounding home ownership. Arkady’s lawyers claim the property did not belong to him. They said Ribsden Manor was bought in 2012 by a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, owned by a partner and funded by a loan – which seemed, oddly enough, to come from a company controlled by Rotenberg.
A judge ruled last year that the loan was a “red herring” and that the “real beneficial owner” of the house was indeed Rotenberg.
At the last court hearing, as reported The temperature, it has also been revealed that, as Natalia Rotenberg no longer lives in Britain, there are now doubts whether the UK courts even have jurisdiction over the case.
The legal battle with his wife is only part of Arkady Rotenberg’s complex life.
Together with his brother Boris, he is a co-owner of the Stroygazmontazh Group, the largest gas pipeline and power line construction company in Russia. The company became embroiled in geopolitical controversy when it built a 20 km bridge between Crimea and Russia, shortly after the country was illegally annexed by Russia from Ukraine. The Rotenberg brothers were sanctioned and subjected to travel bans because Ukraine did not give its consent to the construction of the bridge.
Arkady Rotenberg has known Putin since childhood and they were pictured together training judo. Putin personally presented him with the Russia Medal of Honor for his work on the bridge, a long-dreamed project whose completion was used to rally Russian nationalist sentiment by Putin.
He and his brother are among the richest people in Russia, with interests in banking and construction. They even own a slice of Moscow airport.
The Rotenberg companies appear to have profited greatly from their close relationship with Putin. They are said to have secured $ 7.4 billion in government contracts for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and $ 5 billion for the 2018 World Cup in addition to the $ 3.5 billion bridge contract.
The Rotenbergs were reportedly lined up as investors in the Trump Tower Moscow project through Felix Sater.
In 2014, the US Treasury Department sanctioned the two brothers, identifying them as members of Putin’s “inner circle”. They have also been accused by US authorities of using million dollar artistic deals to circumvent sanctions. A congressional report claimed the Rotenbergs spent $ 18 million buying art in the months after sanctions were imposed in 2014 to withdraw their money from the United States. US Art Purchases The program saw the consultant purchase artwork for clients, pay auction houses directly by wire transfer, and not bid at auction.
The report stated: “Despite [anti money laundering] and sanctions policies, auction houses did not ask Mr Baltser basic questions, especially for whom he had bought works of art. This allowed Mr Baltser to continue buying works of art despite the imposition of sanctions by the United States on the Rotenbergs, completely undermining any action taken by auction houses to block transactions by those sanctioned.
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