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German police raid UBS in an investigation concerning a Russian Oligarch

German police searched branches of the multinational lender UBS as part of a money laundering investigation into Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

According to Der Spiegel, authorities searched UBS locations in Frankfurt and Munich on Tuesday morning.


"The subject of the investigation is the initial suspicion of money laundering against a businessman from the Russian Federation. The investigations are not aimed at the bank concerned or its employees," said the Frankfurt prosecutor's office.


A spokesperson for the lender confirmed that "public prosecutor searches are taking place at the premises of the UBS Europe SE branches in Frankfurt and Munich."


The statement continued, "We cooperate fully with the authorities and ask for your understanding that we cannot comment on the matter at the moment."


The Frankfurt General Prosecutor's Office confirmed the search to the local media and made it clear that they were not looking into the lender or any of its employees; rather, the raid was carried out to gather information useful to the money laundering probe.

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov was born in Uzbekistan and is thought to be worth $19.5 billion (€19.4 billion). Usmanov controls the Kommersant publishing company and is a key shareholder in the Russian industrial giant Metalloinvest.


The billionaire also co-owns Udokan copper and MegaFon, the second-largest mobile phone provider in Russia.


Usmanov was subject to sanctions and a travel restriction across the entire EU as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. In March, the US placed similar sanctions on the oligarch.


Usmanov was most recently the subject of a money laundering and tax evasion investigation by German authorities. It is alleged that he withheld almost €555 million from German tax authorities.


In September it was reported that numerous police raids had taken place at Usmanov-related properties around the country.


Around 250 police officers reportedly inspected over 20 houses throughout Germany for possible money laundering and sanctions violations.


According to Frankfurt prosecutors, the suspect is accused of using a complex network of offshore firms to carry out numerous multi-million euro transactions between 2017 and 2022.


Prosecutors stated in a statement that there is "a suspicion that the sums transferred resulted from crimes, in particular tax evasion."


The probe, according to Munich's prosecutors, is focused on claims that payments were paid to security firms to guard assets in violation of sanctions rules.


According to Der Spiegel, the German Federal Police (BKA) has gathered around 100 bank reports of possible money laundering involving transactions connected to Usmanov.


"We categorically reject any allegations of money laundering or tax evasion on the part of Alisher Usmanov… These claims are unfounded, false and slanderous to his honour and reputation," a spokesperson for Usmanov stated.


"Mr Usmanov is an honest and law-abiding taxpayer, who has paid all due taxes in Russia. He is also recognised as one of the most generous philanthropists in the world," they continued.

By fLEXI tEAM



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