London mansion draws Friedman into his pocket

The billionaire asked the court to allow him the costs of maintaining the property.
Due to British sanctions, Friedman cannot pay the costs of maintaining the Victorian mansion he bought for £65 million. The businessman left Britain, he is now in Moscow, and plans to leave for Israel in the future.

Russian businessman Mikhail Fridman appealed to the High Court of London to be allowed to pay the costs of maintaining his London mansion, the Financial Times reports. Friedman bought the building for £65 million in 2016, the newspaper notes (at the Central Bank exchange rate at the time of publication, this is more than 7.6 billion rubles).

We are talking about a monthly payment of £30 thousand (3.5 million rubles) to the company that services the Victorian mansion Athlone House in north London and £1.85 thousand (218.5 thousand rubles) to pay for utilities ( television, lighting, heating, security). In addition, Friedman asks to be allowed to pay for the driver's services.

The claim was filed against the Treasury. For payments, the businessman wants to obtain a license from the Office of Financial Sanctions Enforcement (OFSI) agency. However, it opposes any changes. In particular, in relation to driver payments, OFSI argues that Friedman is able to travel on public transport (although it was accepted that he has special safety needs).

Friedman's lawyer, Rachel Barnes, said the licenses were needed not to "maintain the lifestyle" of the businessman, but to maintain the historic property.

Friedman is under British, European and American sanctions. Last week, on October 9, a RBC source reported that the businessman left Britain for Israel, and is currently in Russia. The information was confirmed by Alfa Group, adding that Friedman “now plans to visit Russia regularly.”

The billionaire (Forbes estimates his fortune at $12.6 billion) explained his decision to move due to the “impossibility of living under sanctions.” He said that he plans to return from Moscow to Israel after “when everything settles down” - since October 7, there has been a war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

Friedman complained that, due to being subject to sanctions, he faced inconvenience and did not know how to live further. In particular, his bank card was blocked in Britain, after which he had problems even with small expenses - for example, paying for the services of a cleaning lady.

“Maybe I should clean the house myself. This is fine. When I was a student, I lived in a small dorm room with four other people, but 35 years later this is unexpected,” Friedman said.