In the countryside around Tunbridge Wells, on the border between Kent and East Sussex, is a castle that few passersby would know is owned by Russia. Seacox Heath, a grade II listed 19th-century castle, is rumoured to be used by Russian diplomats and FSB spies as a weekend and holiday retreat. It is one of 18 properties in England owned by the Russian state that a Timesinvestigation has found could be seized and given to Ukraine.
On 25 February 2022, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, a select group of oligarchs attended a private meeting with President Putin in the Kremlin’s St. Catherine’s Hall. It was ostensibly to discuss how the government would assist state-owned Russian banks who were about to be sanctioned by the USA, notably Sberbank and VTB Group. The deputy prime minister Andrey Belousov asked the oligarchs and corporate titans to keep working with sanctioned banks. He said that confidence in the banks was crucial for a country where historically financial chaos has destroyed savings and people’s livelihoods.
On 28 October 2016, I received an email from a well-connected former senior MI6 officer who asked me if I had any material about properties in London owned by wealthy Russians. I was a natural person to ask because I had written a book about the Russian oligarchs and had become an expert on the ownership of expensive houses and luxury apartments in central London.
A private jet owned by a Russian tycoon in the "closest circle to Vladimir Putin" has been effectively barred from European airspace after its registration was removed by the Isle of Man authorities.
While the billionaire is trying to dispose of his Western assets in a fire sale, there’s one question everyone is asking: Where is he now?
An £8m property in Belgravia inhabited by the son of a newly sanctioned Russian oligarch could be seized by the Government as part of the response to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
6.56 p.m., Wednesday 3 March 2004. A brand new white six-seater £1.5 million Agusta A109E helicopter lands under an overcast sky at Battersea heliport in south-west London. Waiting impatiently on the tarmac and clutching his two unregistered Vodafones is a broad-shouldered forty-five-year-old British lawyer named Stephen Curtis. He is not in the best of moods.