Putin confidant: detectives searched Alisher Usmanov's accounts: now the Russian billionaire is speaking out

For him, it has become economically uncomfortable in the West since the outbreak of war in Ukraine: Alisher Burkhanovitch Usmanow, born in Uzbek, Russian businessman and owner of USM Holding, a company with countless companies in its portfolio.

Putin confidant: detectives searched Alisher Usmanov's accounts: now the Russian billionaire is speaking out

For him, it has become economically uncomfortable in the West since the outbreak of war in Ukraine: Alisher Burkhanovitch Usmanow, born in Uzbek, Russian businessman and owner of USM Holding, a company with countless companies in its portfolio. Once it paid off: Usmanow was recently credited with a fortune of more than 13 billion US dollars, he is said to own many well-known works of art, one of the largest yachts in the world and expensive villas all over the world.

However, Usmanov apparently has difficulty explaining these possessions, insofar as he attributes them to himself at all. Only yesterday, officials from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) searched locations of the major Swiss bank UBS, according to a report by "Spiegel". The goal: to find evidence of money laundering proceedings in order to be able to prosecute the Russian billionaire.

In total, there is a sum of more than half a billion euros that Usmanow is said to owe to the German tax authorities alone - among other things because of evaded taxes. There are also penalties for missing goods declarations and other offenses. According to information from "Spiegel", the officials received nine suspicious reports of money laundering from UBS, some of which are directed at Usmanov himself and some of which are said to be connected to his numerous letterbox companies.

As early as September, investigators had therefore entered villas on Lake Tegernsee, searched the mega yacht "Dilbar" and recently turned an art warehouse in Hamburg upside down, where paintings worth several million euros were found. These, too, are said to belong to Usmanov and actually belong to the decoration of his yacht. The oligarch defends himself against these accusations and proceedings from afar, he is said to be currently in Uzbekistan.

Alisher Usmanow's spokesman, whom the star confronted with the allegations and the recent searches, also reported from the capital, Tashkent. In a one-page document available to the editors, the billionaire describes his situation as follows:

"Mr. Usmanov and his representatives have not received any official communications on the matter and cannot comment on the ongoing investigation. As we have previously explained, there is no basis for speculation about Mr. Usmanov's alleged illegal activities and suspicions of money laundering. "

It continues: "Mr. Usmanov has disclosed all information about his income and expenses to the relevant authorities since the mid-2000s, and this information has been confirmed by international auditors from the Big Four accounting firms. The origin of his money is completely transparent."

Regarding the tax liability in Germany, the entrepreneur says: "We have previously pointed out that since 2014 Mr. Usmanov has been paying taxes in the country where his main investments were made, i.e. in the Russian Federation. This closed a double taxation of his income in Germany in accordance with the double taxation agreement between Germany and Russia. Mr. Usmanov visited Germany primarily for medical, rehabilitation and recreational reasons."

For the Putin confidant, this results in a similar picture as the oligarch colleague Andrei Melnitschenko described to the star. In early March, Melnichenko said: "We will challenge these unfounded and unjustified sanctions and believe that the rule of law and common sense will prevail. Andrey Melnichenko is a self-made international businessman, entrepreneur and investor in children's education. He has no political ties."

Usmanow made a very similar statement. His spokesman writes: "Any insinuation of 'money laundering' or 'opaque' or 'dubious' origin and 'concealment' of his funds is therefore false and defamatory to Mr Usmanov's reputation. As for the EU's characterization of Mr Usmanov, we can Establish the following: Mr. Usmanov built his capital through entrepreneurial activity as well as through successful international investments. He never participated in the privatization process in Russia, which for many Russian 'oligarchs' was the main source of their wealth."

Oligarchs are always the others - this is how almost every answer of the Russian billionaires can be summarized. The EU meanwhile sees it differently in its justification for sanctions. Among other things, Usmanov is described there as follows: "Alisher Usmanov is a pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has been described as one of Vladimir Putin's favorite oligarchs. He is considered one of the Russian businessmen involved in managing financial flows but whose position depends on the will of the President. According to reports, Mr. Usmanov has represented President Putin and solved his business problems."

But the ongoing proceedings are not about his role after the collapse of the Soviet Union or Putin. There it will be clarified in the future whether Usmanov has laundered money in the last five years and whether he violated the foreign trade law after being included on the EU sanctions list. In this second proceeding, he is accused of violating the prohibition on disposal of frozen funds by paying a security company to monitor his villa on Lake Tegernsee.

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