Russian billionaire on sanctions list owns multimillion euro home in Amsterdam: Report
Russian billionaire Arkady Volozh still owns property in Amsterdam even though the European Union sanctioned him. The construction used to purchase the property meant it was more difficult for the Dutch government to detect it was owned by the founder of the Russian search engine, Yandex, according to NRC and De Groene Amsterdammer.
Volozj owns a mansion on Vossiusstraat right next to the Vondelpark. He bought it in two transactions from 2018 to 2019, paying a total of 3.4 million euros. He purchased the house through Paraseven Limited, a company based in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The island nation is known for its lack of transparency, but the newspapers still found Volozh listed as the owner through the notarial deed.
Volozh was born in Kazakhstan while it was part of the Soviet Union, and has citizenship from both Russia and Malta. He acquired his citizenship from the EU country in 2016 under its controversial cash-for-passports scheme. Nevertheless, he was added to the EU sanctions list in June.
He founded Yandex, the largest internet company in Russia, but resigned as its CEO soon after the sanctions were revealed. The EU accused him of giving the Russian government extensive influence over the company’s business activities, including the data it collected. According to the EU, the search engine promotes propaganda and filters out critical search results.
“Yandex is also responsible for promoting State media and narratives in its search results, and deranking and removing content critical of the Kremlin, such as content related to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine,” the EU said. “Furthermore, as founder and CEO of Yandex, [Volozh] is supporting, materially or financially, the Government of the Russian Federation and is responsible for supporting actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”
Yandex, which has its registered office in the Netherlands, is not on the EU sanctions list.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told NRC that it could not “comment on individual cases and indicate whether assets have been frozen because of the supervisory confidentiality of that information.” A representative of Yandex told NL Times that the ownership of the Vondelpark property was reported to the ministry at the beginning of September.