France seizes Roman Abramovich’s $120m French Riviera mansion as sanctions against oligarch art collector Mount
France has seized Roman Abramovich’s $120 million French Riviera mansion, Chateau de la Croë, as sanctions continue for the Russian oligarch and art collector.
It is one of twelve French properties held by Abramovich that France has seized in recent weeks as it cracks down on Russian assets to penalize Vladimir Putin and his enablers for invading Ukraine. The news was first reported by The Parisian.
Architect Armand-Albert Rateau built the 12-bedroom mansion in 1927 for Pomeroy Burton, a British newspaper magnate, on the Cap d’Antibes peninsula in southern France.
From 1938 to 1950, the seaside property was home to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor following the Duke’s abdication as King Edward VIII. The couple threw a party for Winston and Clementine Churchill’s 40th wedding anniversary at the castle in 1948.
The next owner was the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, from 1950 to 1957, followed by his brother-in-law and business rival Stavros Niarchos. But the property was abandoned and fell into disrepair after a fire in the 1970s.
Abramovich, who founded Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in 2008 with his wife Dasha Zhukova, bought the historic house in 2001. He reportedly spent 100 million euros ($109 million) on renovations, including a new rooftop swimming pool, gym and home cinema.
France has so far confiscated or frozen billions of dollars in Russian assets, including 33 homes, according to its economy and finance ministry.
“[The seized assets] include homes, superyachts and helicopters, and total well over 25 billion euros [$27 billion]”, said a source of the ministry to the Daily Mail.
The UK also imposed sanctions on Abramovich (and six other wealthy Russian billionaires), which forced him to sell his Chelsea football club. The United States also froze Abramovich’s bank accounts.
Abramovich has been involved in Ukrainian peace talks and was reportedly poisoned last month during negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow.
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