Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
A Russian tycoon’s luxury lakeside Swiss villa has been seized by officials for his backing of the war in Ukraine.
Mega-wealthy Andrei Klishas made his fortune in nickel mining before becoming a senator in Russia’s upper house.
His name appeared on an international list of sanctioned supporters of Putin’s regime over his enthusiastic support for the invasion of Ukraine.
Now, Swiss authorities have confiscated his 1,000-square-metre luxury villa.
The sprawling estate is located in the municipality of Brione sopra Minusio in the district of Locarno in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland.
The scenic spot has fewer than 500 inhabitants and overlooks picturesque Lake Maggiore.
Klishas, 49, is a senator in the Federation Council – the upper house of the Russian parliament.
He belongs to President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and is vocal in his backing of the “special military operation” in Ukraine.
He recently stated that “without denazification, Ukraine does not have and should not have a future as a sovereign state”.
Klishas bought the luxury villa in 2008. Neighbours described it as “uninhabited”, adding that they had only ever seen gardeners and cleaning staff on site.
Legal proceedings against the estate began on 4th March, and news that it had been confiscated was reported by local media this week.
Sanctions were first imposed on the senator in 2014.
On 1st March that year, he publicly supported the deployment of Russian armed forces to Ukraine in the occupation of Crimea.
He said the military intervention was justified in order to guarantee the “defence of the citizens of Crimea”.
He is subject to both financial sanctions and an entry and transit ban in Switzerland.
The Swiss federal government has now blocked a total of 11 properties of Russian nationals on Swiss territory since the beginning of the 2022 invasion.
As of last month (April 2022), funds and assets worth a total of CHF 7.5 billion (GBP 6.18 billion) were blocked in Switzerland.