(Bloomberg) — Russia’s super-rich amassed such vast wealth — about $330 billion before the Ukraine war — that their money was bound to come in unexpected places.
For example, an off-campus apartment complex for students at Louisiana State University that boasts the “largest pool in Baton Rouge.”
According to mortgage reports, a portion of Victor Wexelberg’s $16.6 billion fortune has been invested in the Arlington cottages and townhomes of Louisiana’s capital city for more than five years. The 64-year-old Waxelberg was banned by the US in 2018 and again in February in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Wexelberg is “indirectly a minority investor in this property,” said Hilary Marshall, a spokeswoman for Coastal Ridge Real Estate Partners, an investment firm that oversees $3.5 billion of apartments and student housing, including Arlington Cottages. , said in an email. “That happened in 2016 long before the investment ban was imposed.”
A Wexelberg spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Russia’s vast collection of assets owned by oligarchs, from superyachts to sports teams to luxury mansions, have been making headlines in recent weeks as the US, UK, EU and other countries crack down on those considered close to Vladimir Putin. Tighten.
Wexelberg’s 78-metre (256-foot) superyacht, called the Tango, was confiscated in Spain on Monday after US officials received vital information that it was his ship. The seizure was coordinated through the Justice Department’s task force Kleptocapture and was the first of its kind. Tango is worth about $100 million.
Their investment in the 732-bed campus with LSU, not mentioned earlier, is very small. But it is also less specific, and highlights the lengths to which global authorities must go to track down the end points of the fate of the sanctioned Russians.
Arlington Cottage, built in 2016, was appraised at $63.6 million and financed with a $44.1 million loan that was secured and sold to investors by Freddie Mac, a US government-sponsored mortgage venture.
The loan was placed on a watch list for risk of default in 2018 because of Vekselberg’s involvement, according to information compiled by KeyBank NA, the servitor of the loan, after its owners received a special operating license from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control. was forced to do.
Marshall said Coastal Ridge is working with OFAC to ensure it complies with all sanctions-related laws and regulations and “is actively working to get the most out of this investment in the near term.” Is.”
Firms affiliated with Wexelberg invested in a range of US properties before facing sanctions, such as Sylum Technologies, a Florida-based chemical lighting solutions maker, and Odyssey Online, a publishing platform popular with college students. He told a Forbes magazine last year that he had $1.5 billion in Western bank accounts.
According to Marshall, his participation in Arlington Cottage, which has a large pool surrounded by palm trees and cabanas, was facilitated by investment firm Bracken Capital. Bracken was formerly named Columbus Nova MB and was part of the New York-based Columbus Nova, which managed money for the Renova Group of Wexelberg.
Columbus Nova, which was run by Wexelberg’s American cousin Andrew Intrater, was barred from managing many of its investments following the 2018 sanctions and a $500,000 payment for consulting services to the company founded by Michael Cohen. At the same time attracted attention. Donald Trump’s lawyer.
The firm has since rebranded as Sparrow Capital. A spokesperson for Sparrow did not respond to requests for comment.
Vekselberg was born in Ukraine and founded Renova in 1990. Later that decade, it acquired a $1 billion stake in the oil company TNK. He became the richest man in Russia in 2012, when he and his co-owners agreed to sell a 50% position to state-controlled oil and gas operator, Rosneft, for $28 billion.
To contact the authors of this story: Scott Carpenter at New York [email protected]John Gittelsohn in Los Angeles [email protected]
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