A German regional court in Frankfurt has ruled that the Office of the Federal Prosecutor’s retention of documents and property belonging to Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov is illegal, according to Usmanov’s press office. The ruling states that all documents and property seized during a criminal investigation against Usmanov must be returned to him.
The court’s decision specifically refers to property seized during police raids that took place a year ago. These raids targeted several villas, including one in the holiday town of Rottach-Egern, an apartment, and a yacht believed to be linked to Usmanov. The businessman had been under investigation since September 2022 when German police seized almost 90 bank reports detailing what they claimed were “suspicious transactions” by Usmanov. Additionally, valuable works of art were also allegedly seized.
German law enforcement had accused Usmanov of utilizing an “extensive and complex network of companies and corporations” to mask the origins of various transactions between 2017 and 2022. However, in May of this year, the Frankfurt court deemed the police raids conducted as part of a money laundering, tax evasion, and sanctions violation case to be illegal.
Furthermore, the court emphasized that Usmanov is entitled to legal protection, as federal prosecutors continued to retain the seized property and documents for their own purposes despite the search warrants being rendered ineffective.
Alisher Usmanov, originally from Uzbekistan, holds a significant stake in USM, a Russian investment group that has holdings in Metalloinvest, one of the world’s largest iron ore producers, and telecommunications company MegaFon. Usmanov’s net worth is estimated to be $14.4 billion according to Forbes. It should be noted that the 70-year-old businessman was added to the sanction lists of the UK, EU, and US shortly after the commencement of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
This recent ruling by the German court is a significant victory for Usmanov as it demonstrates that the authorities have unlawfully seized his property and documents. It highlights the importance of protecting an individual’s rights and ensuring that due process is followed throughout any legal proceedings.
It remains to be seen how this ruling will impact Usmanov’s ongoing legal battles and the broader implications it may have for his business dealings. Nonetheless, the return of his seized property and documents marks a favorable turn of events for the Russian billionaire.
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