EU could ban Russians from buying real estate in Europe – Robb Report

In an escalation of sanctions against Russia for its war on Ukraine, the European Union is considering banning Russians from buying goods in Europe.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday morning that the ban is part of the EU’s sixth sanctions package against the country. The current European Commission proposal would prevent Russian citizens, residents and entities from acquiring real estate in Europe. It explicitly prohibits the sale or transfer of “property rights in immovable property located in the territory of the Union or of units in undertakings for collective investment offering exposure to such immovable property”, according to the legal text consulted by Bloomberg.

The measure would not apply to Russians who have citizenship or residency in the European Union or Switzerland.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Western nations have moved to sanction Russian oligarchs and seize their assets in an effort to pressure Vladimir Putin. Just this week, the United States received permission to seize a superyacht in Fiji believed to be owned by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov.

Roman Abramovich’s French villa was seized by authorities in April.

Wikimedia Commons

Kerimov is one of many ultra-wealthy Russians who have acquired property in the EU since the collapse of the Soviet Union. He is linked to a luxury house in France, where Roman Abramovich, another sanctioned Russian billionaire, also had homes. Many of Abramovich’s assets were seized by French authorities last month, including a villa that previously belonged to King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

This latest move would intensify the pressure on Putin by targeting some of his closest allies and his compatriots at large. Other measures included in the new EU sanctions package also aim to hit, for the first time, Moscow’s oil industry and Russia’s biggest bank.

The ban will need to be approved by EU member states before coming into force and could undergo changes before being adopted. But if approved, it seems likely that far fewer Russians than usual will shop for a Mediterranean retreat this summer.

Mary I. Bruner