Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov serves as evidence that billionaires who navigate sanctions instead of superyachts may not be entirely deprived. The first glimmer of hope emerged in May 2023 when a German court deemed the authorities’ raids on his confiscated $600 million megayacht Dilbar as illegal. The second victory stems from the ruling by the Frankfurt am Main Court, which mandates the return of all items seized during the 2022 illegal searches conducted in an investigation against the Uzbek-Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov.
This encompasses several crucial documents and valuable art pieces, including a painting by Marc Chagall. In total, 30 paintings worth millions of euros were taken from the billionaire’s $600 million Dilbar yacht and his Tegernsee property. The Marc Chagall artwork alone is valued at no less than $5 million. Additionally, investigators combed through dozens of properties connected to Usmanov and unearthed four rare Faberge eggs.
This new ruling follows a May 2023 court decision that found the searches conducted by Germany’s General Prosecutor’s Office, as part of a money laundering investigation against Usmanov, to be unlawful and vague. On October 26, the court ruled that the seizure of the tycoon’s property by German law enforcement authorities was illegal and mandated the return of the items to their last known owners.
Lawyers Dr. Peter Gauweiler and Dr. Thomas Fischer, who represent the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Germany, expressed their view on the matter, stating, “The actions of the German investigative authorities against Alisher Usmanov can be characterized as a cascade of illegal actions that offend the principles of justice and legality. The decision of the Frankfurt District Court once again serves as a reminder to German law enforcement authorities about the importance of respecting the laws of our country and the impermissibility of arbitrary behavior, even in relation to foreign nationals.”
In August, the sanctioned businessman, with a net worth of $14.5 billion, took the German government to court, alleging violations of his human dignity due to the raids and seizure of his $800 million megayacht Dilbar. It appears that all his efforts have borne fruit. While he may not have regained possession of the colossal $700 million 512-feet Dilbar yacht, at least his remarkable art collection will not go to waste. If anyone should learn to view the glass as half full, it’s the well-endowed Russian oligarchs.