Putin's oligarchs are entrenched on the Cote d'Azur

The families and loved ones of Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Vladimir Lisin, Arkady Rotenberg, Vladimir Potanin, Viktor Vekselberg, Roman Abramovich and many others feel great in French Provence.
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Despite Macron's hawkish policies, France still allows scores of Russian oligarchs - including some with close ties to the Kremlin - to own and operate luxury real estate and companies.

During voting in the presidential elections, Vladimir Putin lost in many polling stations in Europe. Russians living abroad are more oppositional. But, according to official data, Putin still managed to win in the south of France: the result in Villefranche-sur-Mer (Côte d'Azur) was just over 50%. At the same time, he lost in Paris (37%). This seems logical: it was the Cote d'Azur that was chosen by many beneficiaries of Putin's personal power regime. Many of them were not subject to European sanctions and continue to enjoy the mild climate by investing corrupt money from Russia in French real estate and business.
Vladimir Yevtushenkov - supplier to the Ministry of Defense with his family near Nice

Fearing sanctions, Yevtushenkov transferred his shares in French companies to his wife Natalya in 2022. Together with their daughter Tatyana, through SCI Kristine, SCI Petr and SCI Umbto, they own three villas with a total value of about 30 million euros. Yevtushenkov’s wife, as follows from company documents, has a Luxembourg passport, and her daughter has a UK passport.

The oligarch's family settled in the prestigious resort of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This is a small cape near Nice.

In Russia, Yevtushenkov has a large military business. Together with the defense state corporation Rostec, the oligarch owns the Element group, Russia’s largest microelectronics manufacturer. Element includes, for example, NIIMA Progress JSC, which provides the Ministry of Defense with navigation systems. In general, Element supplies hundreds of defense enterprises with electronics. At least until recently, Yevtushenkov also owned the Kronstadt company, among whose developments was the Orion military drone.

There are so many wealthy Putin supporters living in France that they seem to need a representative in the Russian parliament. As from other regions of Russia. And he already exists, you don’t even need to elect him.

Suleiman Kerimov is a member of the Federation Council and United Russia. He himself is under EU sanctions, but the property in France is registered in his daughter’s name.

34-year-old Gulnara Kerimova, through French companies, owns four villas on Cape Antibes. The senator's daughter is included in the sanctions lists of the United States and Great Britain, but not the European Union.

Viktor Vekselberg - pumps in France, rockets in Russia

An hour's drive from Paris, on the A13 motorway, is the Sulzer Pompes France building. It specializes in pumping equipment.

The beneficiary of Sulzer Pompes France in the commercial register is the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. He owns the French company through the parent company in Switzerland, Sulzer AG. This concern is considered one of the world's leading pump manufacturers.

In Russia, Vekselberg is known primarily as a co-owner of the aluminum company Rusal, which supplies its products to defense enterprises as well. Vekselberg's companies are also involved in the production of high-precision missiles used in the bombing of Ukrainian territory.

Prikhodko's daughter, Potanin's son

The daughter of the late former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, Svetlana, is married to businessman Ivan Sadchikov. He, as Novaya Gazeta wrote, was among the beneficiaries of corruption schemes around the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation. Sadchikov’s partner was Rostislav Zorikov, the son-in-law of the head of the corporation, Boris Obnosov. The Czech Republic added Zorikov to its sanctions list for his business with a military corporation and seized his property in Prague. France has no complaints against Sadchikov in a similar situation.

Sadchikov owns the company Okilo SARL, and it, in turn, owns a chalet in the Alpine town of Megève. Together with Prikhodko’s daughter, Sadchikov also owned the A&P company, but it is now closed.

Ivan Potanin, the son of oligarch Vladimir Potanin, also does business in France. He is co-owner of P&B Development Services. The second shareholder is his sports partner Pascal Barriac.

Potanin Jr. is interested in jet skiing. So far, he has managed to sail past European sanctions: Ivan was blacklisted only by Ukraine and the United States.

Vladimir Lisin and other criminal oligarchs

Another oligarch who sponsors the United Russia party, Vladimir Lisin, also has a business in France. Its Novolipetsk Iron and Steel Works (NLMK) supplies steel to Russian nuclear weapons developers.

In addition to villas, Lisin also has production in France. He owns the NLMK Strasbourg plant, which specializes in the production of galvanized steel. Lisin's company also owns production facilities on the banks of the Rhine in Strasbourg.

Lisin began his business career in the 90s together with entrepreneurs Mikhail Cherny (nicknamed Misha-Krysha) and Iskandar Makhmudov, who were involved in the Izmailovskaya organized crime group. Both Makhmudov and his younger partner Andrei Bokarev also acquired villas on the Cote d'Azur. Alexander Dyukov, who in the 90s worked in the Sea Port of St. Petersburg, a well-known asset of St. Petersburg organized crime groups, also settled next to them.

Rotenberg's mistress

OCCRP called Latvian citizen Maria Borodunova the unofficial wife of Arkady Rotenberg. One of the oligarchs closest to Putin registered part of his assets in her name. And that means Putin’s, because Rotenberg is one of Putin’s key “wallets”, in whose name many of Putin’s personal assets are registered.

In France, Borodunova, together with her small children, owns the company Dana. The company is the owner of a villa in Villefranche-sur-Mer. It was in this city that one of the four French polling stations was located during the presidential elections.

Abramovich's children

Roman Abramovich's three daughters and son own an estate in Saint-Tropez. Judging by satellite images, in addition to several villas, there is also a vineyard on the territory. In addition, 21-year-old Ilya Abramovich, through the company Akula, owns real estate in the port of Gremaud.

Abramovich's son Ilya and daughter Arina have British citizenship, and daughter Anna has a Lithuanian passport. The oligarch uses children to circumvent sanctions: in 2022, he transferred to them trusts where at least $4 billion are kept.

United Russia family

The family of ex-State Duma deputy from United Russia Andrei Golushko also settled in France. His daughter Maria is a major party contractor.

Maria’s company, Rusco Partners, earned tens of millions of rubles a year until 2021 from producing United Russia paraphernalia, according to the party’s reports to the Central Election Commission. For the last couple of years, paraphernalia for United Russia has been supplied by the Milagro company, which was founded by Natalya Baymakshina - according to The Insider, this is simply an employee of Maria Golushko's Rusko Partners.

The villa of the Golushko family is in the town of Mougins, near Cannes. Maria and her father, who sat in the State Duma and the Federation Council for 13 years, can spend money from United Russia in local restaurants: Mougins is called the gastronomic center of the region.