Rich Russians flee Europe to Middle Eastern countries

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s yacht sailing in the Turkish Bosphorus (Getty)

As the search for rich Russians in Western capitals intensifies and Europe intensifies sanctions against Russia, Russian businessmen and rich people are increasingly looking for safe havens to protect their money, luxury yachts and private jets from the grip of Western sanctions. Among the havens available to Russia’s rich are some countries in the region, some of which have so far refused to adopt Western sanctions against Russia, and received a list of people with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In this regard, the United Arab Emirates, which has strained relations with Washington, and Turkey, which is neutral over the Russian war in Ukraine and rejected Western embargo, have become some of the main refuges favored by the wealthy Russians. According to the American magazine Forbes, which follows the news of billionaires and money owners in the world, about 8 luxury yachts, including the famous billionaire Roman Abramovich’s yacht, worth about 438 million dollars, have arrived from the beginning of the Turkish coast. implementation of Western sanctions.

The website “Vissels Value”, which specializes in the evaluation of luxury properties, estimates the value of the Russian yachts that have so far fled to the Turkish coast at about $ 1.1 billion. Although Turkey is a member of the Western Defense North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), it takes a neutral stance on the Russian war in Ukraine and refuses to adopt Western sanctions against Russia.

“Turkey remains one of the options for wealthy Russians being expropriated in the West,” said Zeynep Viratoglu, communications director of luxury real estate firm Space in Istanbul. And she adds in comments to the American magazine Forbes that “Turkey’s geographical location, its financial markets, its easy banking system and its neutral political stance on the Russian war in Ukraine make it attractive to the rich Russians.”

What rich Russians request to flee to Turkey, in addition to these factors, is the opportunity to obtain a Turkish passport within months of their arrival in the country. Under Turkey’s “Residency and Citizenship in Exchange for Investment” law, wealthy Russians can obtain Turkish citizenship by investing only $ 250,000 in real estate or $ 500,000 in Turkish bonds.

After implementing such transactions, which means nothing to the Russian oligarch, he gets citizenship and then passport in a short period of 3 to 4 months.

Data from the Turkish Statistical Authority indicate that foreign purchases of Turkish property have recovered remarkably since the start of military tensions on the Ukrainian border last February and during the months of the current war in Ukraine, where foreign purchases last February by 55% has risen. and rose at a higher rate.It rose 21% last March from the increase seen in February.

Analysts in Turkey believe the reason for this increase is due to an increase in purchases by Russian investors by 96% and purchases by Ukrainians by 85%. In addition to obtaining Turkish passports, wealthy Russians are looking for investments that generate a decent income and enable them to communicate with Russian citizens, especially in resorts that are frequently visited by Russians like Antalya.

The low lira also allows rich Russians who buy with dollars, euros and sterling to get a higher value for their overpayments when they invest.

At the level of the Emirates, which is one of the favorite refuges for the rich Russians, business, property and tourism are still reaping the benefits of the strict Western sanctions against Russia against the background of its invasion of Ukraine.

According to Western reports on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market, which was launched in Dubai on Monday, the UAE market, especially the real estate market, continues to benefit from the purchases of the Russian empire for luxury villas and apartments, as well as from the investments of the active tourism movement coming from Russia.

Businessmen in the UAE apparently do not care about the Western embargo on Moscow. In this regard, the CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority, Raki Phillips, in comments reported yesterday, Tuesday by Bloomberg agency, said Russia has always been among the three largest sources of tourism in the emirate, and tourists from Russia and Belarus represent about 10% of the total tourists in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. .

In turn, the British newspaper “Daily Mirror” said that the purchase of real estate by the Russians in Dubai increased by 67% in the first three months of this year.

A Russian economist told the British newspaper that about 200,000 Russians had left for Dubai since the start of the war. Which encourages the wealthy Russians in the UAE to automatically obtain a visa upon their arrival at the UAE airports, and they do not have financial questions about the sources of financing when buying real estate.

In turn, the New York Times reports that about 24 investors with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin own real estate in Dubai.

According to data from the Center for Defense Studies in Washington, about 38 Russian businessmen and officials near the Kremlin own luxury villas in the UAE, worth about $ 314 million, including six individuals covered by economic sanctions against Russia.

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