Oligarch Abramovich secured the art collection through a minimal transfer to the former

Abramovich and his wife Dasha Zhukova.Image by Getty Images

As a result, the sanctions imposed on him a month later had no consequences for the paintings. The collection, which Abramovich and his then wife, Dasha Zhukova, created in six years, contains about three hundred paintings by Picasso, Malevich, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and others, the value of which experts estimate at about one billion euros. Together they form one of the most important private collections of modern art in the world.

This is clear from Oligarch filesa set of documents leaked from the Cypriot financial services provider MeritServus, which was hacked at the end of last year and fell into the hands of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), an organization of investigative journalists among others. Watchman. I mentioned this in the Netherlands F.D Be the first to know about it.

Abramovich and Zhukova each own 50% of the Cypriot fund that includes the paintings. But in February 2022, after the government in London warned local oligarchs that a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine would also have consequences for them, Abramovich changed the ownership structure.

49 percent

He gave his ex a percentage and took a percentage from himself. With 49%, he is now a minority owner.

As a result, and unlike his football club, the group could not be frozen immediately when the UK and EU imposed sanctions on Abramovich in March. Although ultimate control of property is also a criterion for enforcing sanctions, this is much more difficult to prove.

No sanctions were imposed on Zhukova, who lives in the United States and holds American and Russian citizenship. She is a member of the supervisory board of several museums in Los Angeles and New York and has spoken out against the Russian invasion.

MeritServus documents show that many paintings were moved from storage to Abramovich’s buildings and yachts.

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Megan Vasquez

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