Monday, May 22, 2017

Like Hollywood but with dirty money, welcome to London's richest suburbs

Roman Borisovich conducts a bus tour.
London: Roll up, roll up for the Kleptocracy Tour.

As media stunts go, this has to rank at the weird end of the scale.

For three hours, through heavy London traffic, a coach-load of journalists is taken past absurdly expensive mansions and flash apartments in the city's ritziest neighbourhoods: Chelsea, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park.

It's like one of those Hollywood tours where you trundle past the homes of celebs, pausing to snap photos of featureless gates. Except this is rainy London, and they're famous for all the wrong reasons.

Here is the elegant terrace of a Russian oil industry middleman who scraped a multibillion-dollar fortune from mysteriously inflated contracts, we're told, and used it to pick up £250 million ($431 million) worth of properties in central London.

There's a grade-1 heritage-listed Regency building belonging to a chap with mafia connections, who fought his way to a virtual monopoly of a country's ore refining industry and bought political protection by bankrolling​ civic projects – with the favours returned in the form of cheap state loans and expensive state contracts.

Down this lane lives the son of one of Vladimir Putin's best and oldest pals from St Petersburg, wildly enriched through state contracts and commissions.

And up in this apartment building near Sloane Square lives the daughter of the Duma's poorest MP – if you believe his official declarations, though the Panama Papers revealed a substantial central Paris and London property portfolio.  (more...)

No comments:

Post a Comment