AS Monaco this week announced a donation to the Monaco Red Cross “to help the civilian population suffering from the armed conflict in Ukraine”. In addition to contributing an unspecified amount, the owner of the club, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, made another donation, also unspecified, “in his personal capacity”. Accuracy to show a clear distance from Moscow, which does not appear to be too great, in light of an increasingly hostile international panorama against the Russian oligarchs suspected of being close to President Putin, trapped by harsh economic sanctions across Europe and the United States.
In fact, Rybolovlev, who is not currently blacklisted, doesn’t have to look far to see what is happening to many of his fellow Russians, billionaires like him, across Europe and even in his current home, Monaco. Since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the international community has joined forces to harshly punish the Putin government and its henchmen, including every oligarch who, for decades, got rich under the Kremlin, in exchange for funding rather than criticism of their policies. Many of them own huge and valuable properties or yachts on the Cote d’Azur, in Monaco or just a few kilometers away. Like the magnificent mansion in Cape Antibes, south of Nice, which has the owner of another well-known European football club, Roman Abramovich, until recently the proud president of London club Chelsea who is now blacklisted in the UK and, perhaps soon, in the European Union.
In an unusual gesture, Monaco, one of the favorite places of the rich among the rich in Russia, and where according to the international press, one of Putin’s ex-partners, Svetlana Krivonozhikh, has a luxury apartment, has joined the European sanctions, through just like another neutral tax haven, Switzerland. Last week, Monaco authorities banned a yacht attributed to Russian millionaire Sergei Galitsky, owner of the Krasnodar football club, as a precaution.
Rybolovlev, in principle, has nothing to fear. Despite being an oligarch, he is not considered close to Putin and, at the moment, does not appear on any Western sanctions list. This doctor by profession grew rich during the wave of state-owned enterprises privatization after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Rybolovlev, who is considered the 390th fortune in the world, knew how to control the Uralkai fertilizer company and, for years, took advantage of his close political contacts, first with Boris Yeltsin’s government and then with Putin’s, to enrich himself and get away with various accusations.
However, things changed in 2008. That year, when the oligarch currently on the EU sanctions, Igor Sechin, from whom France had just seized a yacht on the Cote d’Azur, was deputy prime minister, he began to pressure him to take charge of Uralcay. , which at the time was worth $34,000 million, according to Le Monde newspaper in 2012. Finally, Rybolovlev sold his portfolio – he was the largest shareholder in the fertilizer company – in 2010 to an oligarch close to Setchin, for an estimated value of more than $6000 million, And he left Russia. It was then, according to international analysts, that Rybolovlev cut all bridges with the Kremlin. A year later, he became the owner of AS Monaco.
According to the French press, another Russian billionaire residing in Monaco, the owner of his basketball club, Alexei Fedorixev, does not fear for his assets on European soil either. Sources in the basketball club told BFM TV about the head of Fedcom, the sponsor of the Euroleague and Monaco, that Fedorixev “has no relations or activities in Russia, is no longer Russian, has a Hungarian passport.”
Shows, according to this French media, that there is no need to fear for any of the money lords for their status at the moment, is that Prince Albert of Monaco has been seen, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, talking with Fedorixev, as well as in the fund of the Louis II Stadium with Ekaterina Ryplovleva , the daughter of the owner of Monaco, and the number two in the club, also Russian Sergei Diaditchko.
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