The Putin Proxy: Sanctioned Russian Oligarch’s Alleged Partner’s Luxury Real Estate in Kitzbühel!

Putin Proxy Eduard Khudainatov under scrutiny
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Investigative reports by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) have uncovered intriguing details surrounding the ownership of four luxurious properties in Kitzbühel, Austria, tied to Svetlana Eliseeva, a former romantic partner of Eduard Khudainatov, a Kremlin-linked Russian oligarch sanctioned by the EU in June 2022. It is another case of strange Russian investments in Austria, which is known for its Russian connections.

Svetlana Eliseeva, holding Russian and Cypriot citizenship, acquired these villas in the picturesque Alpine town of Kitzbühel between 2017 and 2021, with transactions totaling approximately €26 million. The purchases were made shortly after Eliseeva obtained a Cypriot passport through a controversial citizenship-by-investment program, which was later abolished. This “golden passport” facilitated her acquisitions, circumventing restrictions that typically apply to non-EU citizens.

The properties’ ownership raises questions regarding their funding sources, especially considering Eliseeva’s past relationship with Khudainatov and her lack of significant independent financial means. Documents reveal that although Eliseeva and Khudainatov were not officially married, they share two children, and Khudainatov is cited as their father on Russian birth certificates. This connection suggests potential financial ties that could be relevant in light of EU sanctions.

Eliseeva’s acquisitions commenced with a villa purchased for €13.25 million in July 2017, offering a panoramic view of Kitzbühel’s Streif ski race course. Subsequent purchases included two more villas in July 2018 and another in May 2021. Despite these acquisitions, local reports indicate these properties are seldom occupied, suggesting they may be used as leisure residences, which could contravene local housing regulations given Tyrol’s strict laws against such practices.

Local authorities in Tyrol have started investigating these property purchases for potential misuse as leisure residences. However, they admitted lacking jurisdiction over sanctions enforcement, which is handled at the federal level in Austria.

The backdrop of these purchases is Khudainatov’s complex business dealings and his historical connections to the Kremlin. From 2010 to 2012, he was at the helm of Rosneft, a major state-controlled oil entity, later implicated in sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Post-Rosneft, Khudainatov amassed significant wealth through private oil ventures, including a lucrative sale to Rosneft itself.

This case exemplifies the intricate web of personal relationships, international finance, and geopolitical tensions that characterize the operations of high-profile individuals under sanctions. The ownership of luxury real estate in Kitzbühel by Eliseeva, against the backdrop of her connections with a sanctioned oligarch, underscores potential compliance issues and the broader implications for EU sanctions enforcement.

As this situation unfolds, it will provide crucial insights into the enforcement of international sanctions and the effectiveness of regulatory frameworks designed to curb the misuse of luxury real estate by politically exposed persons (PEPs). FinTelegram will continue monitoring this case for further developments and implications on international regulatory practices.

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