Russia’s money elite withdraws its billions from “unfriendly” countries

Since the start of the war, Russian billionaires, driven by rising sanctions and pressure from the Kremlin, have withdrawn assets worth $50 billion from European states deemed “hostile.” As The Kyiv Independent reported, citing Bloomberg, these wealthy individuals are transferring their funds from countries such as Cyprus, Switzerland and Jersey back to Russia or to countries considered friendly such as Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates.

Money elite on the move: From Europe’s banks back to the Kremlin

Some of the first to undertake this wealth transfer are said to have been CEOs of renowned family companies such as fertilizer billionaire Andrey Guryev and steel tycoon Victor Rashnikov. Traditionally, Russian elites preferred to keep their assets in Europe. But given the growing number of names on Western sanctions lists, the options for these elites are shrinking. In addition, The Kyiv Independent highlighted that the Kremlin is taking active measures to bring the assets of Russian billionaires back into the country by suspending double taxation agreements and offering tax-attractive domestic regions in return.

Mass relocation to Russian “offshore” zone

However, it’s not just individuals who are moving their wealth. The Kyiv Independent also mentioned that 115 companies have moved their assets to Russian “offshore” zones this year. This comes in the context of a series of sanctions imposed by Western governments such as the US, UK and EU against senior Russian figures. As a result of these sanctions, assets of members of the Russian elite were frozen and travel bans were imposed. The Ukrainian government has expressed a desire to use these frozen assets to support the country’s reconstruction.

Jean Harris

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