Students seized the mansion of a Russian oligarch in Europe: the court allowed them to stay there

In the Netherlands, a court has ruled that a group of squatters who seized the home of a Russian oligarch under sanctions cannot be evicted. The edition told in more detail Business Insider.

Photo: IStock

Squatters moved into a five-story luxury home owned by billionaire Arkady Volozh on October 27, according to local media. Despite a request by Volozh's lawyers to evict them, the judge ruled that they did not need to leave. Squatting is an act of unauthorized settlement of an abandoned or unoccupied place or building by unauthorized persons (squatters).

In March, Volozh came under EU sanctions for providing financial assistance to the Russian government and facilitating the dissemination of information in state media through the Yandex search engine, which he co-founded. Volozh stepped down as CEO of Yandex in June.

His home in Amsterdam was frozen as part of the sanctions. Located in a prestigious area, this house overlooking the picturesque Vondelpark is one of the most expensive in the city.

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One of the organizers of the settlement in this house, who identified herself simply as Jo, said that the building was empty. It has about nine baths. 

“There is a toilet and bathroom on every floor,” she said. Several people moved in, most of them students.

This settling came against the backdrop of an acute housing crisis in Amsterdam, where real estate has long been prohibitively expensive. Photos published on the Internet show that the building is hung with posters with the inscription "Against war and capitalism."

Dutch laws on such settlements, which were tightened in 2010, often depend on whether the property is in use at the time. Volozh's lawyers argued that the building was empty solely because of major repairs, after which Volozh plans to move into it with his family.

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But the judge was skeptical and noted that under the sanctions, Volozh could not even enter the EU, let alone get into the house.

This is far from the first protest against the property of high-ranking Russian sanctioned figures. In March, activists stormed a mansion owned by billionaire oligarch Oleg Deripaska in the London Borough of Belgravia.

Around the same time, activists broke into a huge seaside villa in Biarritz, France, which is registered in the name of Kirill Shamalov, the ex-husband of Putin's daughter Ekaterina Tikhonova. Activists said they want to invite Ukrainian refugees to live there.

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