Federal authorities have asked a judge to approve prosecutors’ plans to seize a sanctioned Russian oligarch’s Southampton mansion, two Park Avenue apartments and three luxury apartments in Florida worth $75 million combined.
The owner, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, was sanctioned for his support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago Friday.
The move comes after Vekselberg’s fugitive associate Vladimir Voronchenko, who also stayed at and maintained the properties that federal agents raided in September, was indicted on February 7 for sanctions violations, international money laundering and other crimes. Voronchenko fled after being subpoenaed.
“With the filing of this complaint, the United States sends a strong message to those who violate sanctions and engage in money laundering that the United States will use every available tool to forfeit criminal proceeds and will use that money to help our allies in Ukraine under the newly enacted law,” said Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Authorities filed court documents in Manhattan federal court seeking civil forfeiture of the properties. His yacht and private plane were previously blocked.
The nearly two-acre Southampton property known as Villa Ledas has a 9,941-square-foot, two-story mansion built in 1998 with eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms, records show.
The mansion at 19 Duck Pond Lane was purchased in 2008 for $11.4 million and listed for nearly $16 million in 2020. Amenities include a library, two bars, wine cellar, fitness center, heated pool, an all-weather tennis court and a sculpture garden.
Vekselberg, a Ukrainian-born businessman who is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been sanctioned in 2018, but the U.S. Department of Justice recently stepped up its efforts to seize his and other oligarchs’ assets after Russia invaded Ukraine.
He is the founding chairman of Moscow-based Renova Group, an aluminum, oil, energy and telecoms conglomerate. Worth a reported $9.3 billion, he is ranked among richest people in the world and is believed to own the world’s largest collection of Fabergé eggs.