The son of a Russian billionaire facing sanctions for supporting the dictator who runs ベラルーシ has been linked to a £160m portfolio of London properties.
Said Gutseriev, a 34-year-old businessman with British and Russian nationality, appears to have spent years amassing a collection of at least seven properties in central ロンドン.
They range from large office buildings in the City to a pair of £17m townhouses in south Kensington knocked together to make one residence.
Said’s father, Mikhail Gutseriev, was blacklisted last year, by the EU in June and the UK in August, months after the violent repression of protests which threatened to bring to an end 26 years of autocratic rule by Belarusian president アレクサンドル・ルカシェンコ. The UK government described Gutseriev as “a longstanding associate” of the president, who had used his business interests to support Lukashenko’s government.
The property collection emerged from the findings of a joint investigation by the Guardian and the Belarusian Investigative Center, part of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
All of the properties examined were bought before Mikhail was sanctioned. Six were acquired between 2004 そして 2012, when Said was either at school or university, or was just starting his career at the FTSE 100 commodities trader Glencore. Said attended £14,500 a term Harrow school before studying at Oxford.
Leaked documents suggest Said was given a head start thanks to his family’s wealth. One of the properties appears to ultimately belong to a trust established by his father in 2007. Said was listed as a beneficiary of the trust in official paperwork from 2008 そして 2009 ガーディアンが見た. The paperwork also names him as a beneficiary of a second trust, に設立されました 2004 by his grandmother, Marem Gutserieva. Said controls a stake in Russneft, the Russian oil company that was part-owned by his father until the latter transferred his holding to his brother in August 2021.
A spokesperson for Said Gutseriev said he has no financial or commercial links to his father, and always acts in accordance with applicable law, including on sanctions. The spokesperson did not dispute Said’s ownership of any of the properties.
The information about assets linked to him in the UK raises questions about whether sanctions should apply to family members.
Tom Keatinge, director of the centre for financial crime and security studies at the thinktank Rusi, 前記: “One of the challenges that western countries will now be having is identifying the true extent of assets that should be frozen under sanctions regimes. It’s reasonable to look closely at assets owned by family members – not just asset purchases in recent years but transfers in the past.”
The properties that appear to be linked to Said were uncovered in analysis by Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog, using data from the Land Registry, UK Companies House and offshore leaks obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Most were bought using companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven which allows company owners to remain hidden.
The Queen’s Gate Place home, a listed building near London’s Natural History Museum, has been used by Said as his main London residence. It underwent extensive renovations in 2013, with planning documents showing ornate, gold-painted walls, elaborately carved cornices, classically painted murals and chandeliers.
Another property, Lilly House at 13 Hanover Square in London, was sold for £69m in November last year.
Said’s net worth is estimated at $1.3bn (£1bn) by Forbes, a valuation the magazine said was based on stakes in oil, 石炭, retail and financial businesses, some of which were previously owned by his father.
Said is the major shareholder of SFI, a Russian company formerly called Safmar Financial Investments in which Mikhail was previously a “controlling shareholder”, according to its annual reports. Mikhail served alongside his son on SFI’s board until November 2021. SFI owns a stake in Russneft and in the online retailer M.Video, a business originally bought by the father.
In the last year, Said is understood to have severed some financial ties with companies previously linked to his father and with Russia and Belarus. He reportedly resigned in August 2021 as the head of ForteInvest, an oil refinery company where he had been made chief executive in 2014 歳の時に 26. A company press release said Forteinvest was owned by his father’s Safmar Group as recently as late 2020. 8月に 2021, he sold his stake in the Belarus-based cryptocurrency exchange Currency.com, 地元メディアによると.
Ben Cowdock, the investigations lead for Transparency International UK, 前記: “Following the money is critical to making financial sanctions bite. Those who are targeted by sanctions may have shared their wealth among family, friends and associates.”
Said studied archaeology and anthropology at St Peter’s College, オックスフォード, とで 2019 the university created a Gutseriev fellowship after he donated £2.6m. When he married in 2016, Sting, Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias performed at the opulent celebrations, which took place in London and Moscow.
Gutseriev’s spokesperson said: “Mr Said Gutseriev does not have any financial or commercial links to Mr Mikhail Gutseriev and cannot be termed a business partner of his father’s. To suggest otherwise is factually incorrect. Mr Said Gutseriev is a British national and resident, he understands fully the scope and application of sanctions targeting his father, and always acts in accordance with applicable law.
“Any suggestion that he holds any funds or assets for, or makes funds or assets available to, his father is factually incorrect. He has no financial or business links to any sanctioned individuals or entities and acts in full compliance with UK sanctions. To suggest otherwise is factually incorrect.
“Mr Said Gutseriev is not a political figure and has no personal or financial links to the Russian or Belarussian governments.
“He urges a peaceful resolution to the fighting in ボリス・ジョンソンのベン・ジェニングス and condemns the alleged human rights abuses. Any instances of human rights abuses should be tried according to international law and anyone found guilty punished with the full force of the law.”
Mikhail Gutseriev did not respond to requests for comment.