First Decision of An Italian Court on the Freezing of Russian Oligarchs Assets

Italy is fighting a legal battle over the assets of Russian oligarchs, and some of them are responding by appealing to the Lazio Regional Administrative Court. Indeed, behind the war in Ukraine there are legal disputes related to sanctions decided by the European Union against Russia and its oligarchs. In Italy, 28 of them are on the blacklist as their own villas, yachts, jets and companies. Their assets, worth about 2.7 billion euros, are frozen and 10 of them have appealed the arrest orders to the Lazio Regional Administrative Court. A ruling has already been issued by the Court.

The owner of the Yacht “Lady M” moored near San Remo, flying the Cayman Island, has appealed the “confiscation” decision before the Lazio Administrative Court.

However, the Lazio Regional Administrative Court, on the basis of an investigation by the Special Currency Police Unit of the Guardia di Finanza has no doubts: “It is clear that the availability of the yacht is Mr Mordashov’s even though the ownership appears to be of his wife Marina Alexandrovna.” As for Mr Mordashov’s presence on the blacklist, the Court emphasizes how he is “responsible for providing financial and material support to Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine.”

Accordingly, the Court ruled that “The Italian state acted correctly in arresting the vessel and therefore the appeal should be dismissed.” However, the matter is not yet closed and will be brought before the Council of State.

This decision will surely be considered as a significant precedent in case other Russian oligarchs challenge the Italian State’s arrest orders over their assets.  In the light of the current international political situation, it is difficult to expect that the Council of State may reverse such a sensitive judgement.  Let’s see wait for the final decision.