Russian billionaire Alexander Ponomarenko is one of many such oligarchs to have their luxury assets seized by various governments in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In fact, he was among the first to face such seizures, and now he’s attempting to get one of his assets back in French court: a villa reportedly valued at $88.9 million in the ultra-exclusive Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera.
Unfortunately for Ponomarenko, his legal argument failed in court, and the asset freeze imposed on the holding company that technically owns the property stayed frozen. He’d argued that with the assets frozen, he’s unable to complete various renovation projects on the property. But the court was unsympathetic to his pleas, and ruled against him.
The court also pointed out that while Ponomarenko’s own financial resources might be facing freezes and seizures, the mother of the billionaire’s children, who reportedly owns 95 percent of the holding company, and as the presiding judge said, “whose very significant economic resources are not frozen, apart from those possessed within the framework of the SCI La Chabanne Project.”
And Ponomarenko’s legal battle to get back his villa isn’t quite done, as a different chamber of the court is now set to “examine the substance of his arguments.”
He’s also not the only Russian billionaire seeking to get back control of luxury assets in court. Alexey Kuzmichev recently scored a victory (albeit a mostly ceremonial one) with customs officials also in France regarding raids of two of his yachts on the French Riviera, having previously lost another dispute with the court over its disclosure of the location of his home in Paris. And similar legal disputes made by Roman Abramovich, Andrey Melnichenko, and Mikhail Fridman are set for review in EU courts.
As for Ponomarenko’s villa, it’s a true jewel, spread across four acres and with incredible ocean views. You can take a look at the property (in the middle of those rennovation projects) in the video below from CPMGROUP SAS on YouTube: