Rich Russian is hard to catch in Holland

It’s hard to associate the property with some Russians, says investigative journalist Dmitriy Tokmitzis of Follow The Money. He is investigating this with an international group of journalists. “There are often mother companies above them and the assets are not in their own name,” Tokmetzis tells EditieNL. “You’ll definitely notice that with real estate.”

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This makes searching the Land Registry that contains this type of data difficult. “You can look for normal people, but it does not help you. A rich Russian does not buy the house himself. This goes through a holding company, an intermediary company, which is then registered in Cyprus, for example. Find out what this holding is called. They have no idea ” .

The research group suspects that there are houses on the canal in Amsterdam that belong to Ross. “We know that many Russians in the Netherlands are active in the business world. This concerns mainly businessmen from the oil world. Many oil refineries and drilling rigs in the Netherlands are – in part – in the hands of the Russians. It is almost inevitable that they are here too. They have homes.”

Tokmetzis finds it frustrating that the information cannot be obtained in the Netherlands. “Kadaster is a very closed organization. Under the guise of privacy, sometimes they can’t share things, or you have to pay a lot of money for it,” says the journalist.

Kadaster says in a response that they are not allowed to register by nationality and therefore cannot be searched for: “There must be a legal basis and a formal designation if Kadaster is to be able and allowed to carry out this task which is currently being investigated by the Ministry.”

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If you find out where the Russians have their property, this does not immediately mean that you can or should do something with it. “We agreed to freeze the property of wealthy Russians, which is different from seizing it,” explains criminal law attorney Robert de Prey.

Although, according to him, freezing is also complicated. De Bree explains: “This is possible and allowed under European penal law, but this is especially easy with financial assets, ie money in the bank. You can freeze that easily, but how do you freeze a house or a boat?” This is not easy. “You will then have to seize it, as it is now happening in England with a luxury yacht,” continues the lawyer. “But this requires additional work from the government. There are countries in the European Union that are actively looking for real estate, but for us this now seems like a bridge too far.”

From a legal point of view, the seizure of property is also considered “extremely difficult”. “There is currently no law for this in the Netherlands and you just haven’t put it in place. I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.”

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