Russian Oligarch’s Art Collection Seized by German Authorities

Russian Oligarch’s Art Collection, Worth $5 Million and Containing 30 Paintings, Will Remain in Possession of the German Police.

Nov 11, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Russian oligarch
Usmanov’s super-yacht; Markus Scholz / dpa / TASS


Russian Oligarch’s Art Collection remains confiscated by German Authorities. They confiscated it from Alisher Usmanov, one of the richest people in Russia. Among the impounded 30 paintings is a work from a French modernist, Marc Chagall.


Russian Oligarch’s Art Collection and Superyacht Confiscated in Germany

Alisher Usmanov
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov; Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images.


Usmanov is one of the world’s wealthiest men with an estimated fortune of more than $19.5 billion. As a result of Russian aggression in Ukraine, E.U. sanctioned him because of his ties with Vladimir Putin.


The German police previously seized the oligarch’s 500-feet long yacht Dilbar. Dilbar is the world’s largest yacht, with an estimated value of $735 million, in Hamburg in April. Up until 2021, Usmanov’s art collection was displayed on the yacht.


German authorities found the collection in a storage facility near the Hamburg airport. Also, in Usmanov’s villa on Lake Tegernsee in Bavaria. Usmanov needed to report his property in Germany, due to the Russian invasion and the following sanctions. Since Usmanov failed to do so, German authorities can confiscate his artwork and yacht for the time being.


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In September, German public prosecutors reported about the searching of the yacht. This all occurred after investigations launched because of tax evasion, money laundering, for violations of European Union sanctions.


Usmanov Denied Any Ties With the Yacht or Other Possesions

the Dilbar
The world’s biggest yacht, the Dilbar, owned by Alisher Usmanov.


The same month, German police searched dozens of houses and apartments belonging to Usmanov and discovered four rare Faberge eggs. The jewellery firm House of Faberge in Russia made them. The value of the eggs is not known, but is considered to be around $33 million.


Representatives for Usmanov said the assets were not in Russian oligarch possession, but they belonged to the foundations over which he has no control. This resulted, by the representatives opinion, in not needing to report ownership of the art collection or vessel.


Usmanov asserted that the German police and prosecutors’ probe were “examples of blatant lawlessness under the pretext of the sanctions law,” and denied any involvement with the yacht.


Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall


“The allegations of complaints from banks regarding suspected money laundering have also been part of this campaign of lies and misinformation”, a statement from the oligarch’s office said at the time. Usmanov now lives in Uzbekistan, stressing about being accused of evading at least 555 million euros ($553 million) in German taxes since 2014.


In 2007, Usmanov halted a Sotheby’s sale of Russian art the night before the event was set to take place, and purchased the entire collection for £25 million himself. He then donated it to one of Putin’s palaces.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.