BERLIN (Reuters) – German police and customs officers on Thursday searched several properties in southern Germany that a source familiar with the matter said belonged to a Russian national targeted by European Union sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The source told Reuters that Russian-Uzbek businessman Alisher Usmanov was the target of the search operation.
A spokesman for Usmanov said in response to a question: “There can be no reason for suspicion against Mr. Usmanov, who has always duly declared the personal property he acquired legally, in addition to disclosing the funds with which he acquired these assets.” Reuters requested comment.
The spokesman said that Usmanov was not the owner of the fund he founded and had no right to control or manage its assets.
“As such, he has no way of knowing what is currently happening to the properties owned by the trust.”
A special committee called “Matryoshka”, established by the German Customs Authority’s Sanctions Office, said in a statement that officers searched properties in Greater Munich and Tegernsee in Bavaria.
In September 2022, German police searched Usmanov’s villa in the holiday town of Rottach-Egern on the banks of the Tegernsee River. The court later deemed the raids illegal.
The Special Committee of the German Customs Authority said it was acting on search warrants issued by the court. She added that she could not provide further details about the operation for tactical reasons.
(Reporting by Miranda Murray, Jörn Boltz, Rachel Moore and Alexandre Marrow – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Writing by Maria Martinez. Edited by Alexandra Hudson and Grant McCall
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