Russian oligarch rents a luxury villa by the Bosphorus

Russian oligarch rents a luxury villa by the Bosphorus
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Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has settled in Istanbul after being sanctioned in the Western countries

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has been sanctioned by the U.K., European Union and Canada after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, has rented a luxury villa by the Bosphorus in Istanbul to settle in the city, Turkish media reported.

The monthly rent of the luxury villa owned by Turkish businessman Ahmet Okumus costs $50.000, reports said.

The 56-year-old tycoon has been searching for some time for a suitable waterfront mansion to buy “after being fascinated by the city,” Turkish Hurriyet newspaper said last month.

But Turkey is popular among Russian oligarchs for reasons that go beyond its natural beauty: Turkey has rejected Western sanctions and kept its neutral stance since the war on Ukraine erupted.

“Sanctions imposed by the European countries and the U.S. triggered billionaires to look for alternative investment markets,” real estate consultant Zeynep Firatoglu told Forbes. “Turkey stood out as a viable option with its geographical location, advanced markets and banking system, as well as its neutral stand between Russia and Ukraine.”

Last month the New York Times reported that the Russian oligarch had five mega yachts moored in Turkey’s several ports including his biggest ship, the 533-foot-long Eclipse which reportedly ran up a fuel bill of $1.66 million in the port town of Marmaris. Its tanks took 22 hours to fill, New York Times said.

Data compiled by Turkish newspaper Dunya showed that it was not only the Russian billionaires who invested in Turkey but also smaller companies, as the number of newly established companies with Russian capital in Turkey this year quadrupled compared to last year.

Turkey’s Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati conceded there had been a rush of cash into its financial system, but argued Ankara’s economic ties with Russia were “good neighborly relations.”

Financial Times in September reported that Turkey’s central bank can not account for $24.4 billion during the first seven months of the year and funding from Russian billionaires could be one of the reasons, Financial Times said.