Property belonging to Azarov’s son costing over 3 million Euro arrested in Italy


Ukrainian politics

Article by: Natalka Kudryk
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Rome – Italy arrested the immovable assets belonging to Olexiy Azarov, the son of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. The Italian police confiscated the property back in April, however it was only reported now in light of the arrest of immoveable assets belonging to Russian magnate Arkadiy Rotenberg, who is considered to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The measures against Azarov and Rotenberg were employed in accordance with EU sanctions due to the crisis in Ukraine, the tax police claims. 

The Italian property belonging to Olexiy Azarov that has been arrested includes two luxurious villas and land lots adjacent to them on the island of Sardinia near the elite Emerald Coast.

The assets of the company registered in Milan, whose owner was Olexiy Azarov, according to the Italian government, were also seized. He handled economic resources in Italy through the mediation of his Austrian company Garda Handels-und Beteiligungs GMBH, which controlled the property and financial flow in Italy through the Italian company Agosto 2012 srl.

The Italian tax services did not clearly say whether they had arrested all of Azarov Jr.’s property on the peninsula. They only stated that they acted within the framework of the first EU sanctions against former Ukrainian government officials, and the motivation is as follows: Olexiy Azarov is part of a criminal case in Ukraine regarding the theft of state funds and their illegal export outside of the country.

Big losses

Overall, Olexiy Azarov lost 2 million 800 thousand Euro in frozen property and assets in Italy, Financial Guard sources tell Radio Liberty. It is a police department subordinate to the Italian Ministry of Economics and Finance (analogous to the Ukrainian tax police).

“It is a very long chain that is not easily traceable. It is very difficult to say how much property Azarov has in Italy. As to the sum of his property, this should be verified, how much money was primarily taken out of Ukraine, which mostly went to Cyprus. Every year Ukrainian politicians would transfer about 20 billion dollars to Cyprus. As such, within the past ten years, about 200 billion dollars were exported from Ukraine to Cyprus alone. Therefore, we should check in Ukraine, how much money was stolen,” says Zinoviy Svereda, Professor of Social Economics at the Papal Gregorian University.

The expert notes that with international corruption schemes the sum of losses suffered by a certain state, such as Ukraine, is bigger than the confiscation of property or financial assets of oligarchs outside the country. However, in the fight against state fund theft, a lot depends on the country itself.

“As soon as Ukraine started employing sanctions against the oligarchs, the situation changed immediately on the international level as well. One the one hand, the Western countries benefit when foreigners buy their property or have some sort of business. On the other hand, they also benefit when something is bought out, money is invested and then arrested, so it’s a double income,” explains Zinoviy Svereda, an international corruption scheme investigator.

Moscow’s response? 

The information regarding the seizure of Mykola Azarov’s son went almost unnoticed in Italy. More resonance was given to the news regarding the confiscation of property belonging to Russian businessman Arkadiy Rotenberg. Due to recent anti-Russian sanctions, he was rid of several mansions on Sardinia, a four-star hotel in Rome, overall on a sum of 30 million Euro.

The Italian press rights about the complex international situation, as now the Kremlin is ready to impose response sanctions on European businessmen in Russia. Some analysts are skeptical about Moscow’s intentions, as big Italian companies working in Russia, are under the protection of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. President Vladimir Putin will not dare spoil his friendship with the Italian, experts think.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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