£18m London homes of family ‘linked to autocrat’
08 Sep 2020

The family of a Belarusian businessman believed to have links to President Lukashenko have bought London property worth millions of pounds through a web of offshore companies, The Times can reveal.

Vladimir Peftiev, one of Belarus’s richest men and the former head of an arms company, has appeared in television programmes with Mr Lukashenko.

His family property portfolio is disclosed as protests continue in Minsk, the capital city, spurred by outrage at the president’s sixth term re-election. The post-Soviet strongman, described as “Europe’s last dictator”, has ruled the country since 1994. He claimed victory with 80 per cent of the vote last month amid numerous indications of fraud.

An investigation by The Times and Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, found Mr Peftiev’s wife and daughters owned 12 flats in the West End of London, worth about £18 million.

All but one of the properties were acquired while Mr Peftiev, 63, was subject to EU sanctions. His family was not under sanction at the time and the purchases did not breach sanctions.

The properties are in Marylebone, Kensington, Pimlico, Notting Hill and Paddington. Land Registry data shows Mr Peftiev’s daughters, Anna Peftieva, 32, and Olga Van Vuuren, 31, directly own three properties collectively worth more than £4 million.

Two of those properties were first purchased by companies based in the Seychelles, Isely Investments and Kelly Bay Pacific Overseas, which were co-owned by their mother and Mr Peftiev’s wife, Olga Peftieva (née Makarova). Public documents show that the family owned a further nine UK properties, bought for a combined £13.6 million.

By Emanuele Midolo and George Greenwood, The Times, 7 September 2020

Read more at The Times

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