Kam skatikai, o kam - skatulės ūbas!
Last week, speaking at the G20 Summit, Vladimir Putin described Britain as ‘a small island’. Nobody, said his spokesman, pays attention to it – except of course the Russian ‘oligarchs who have bought Chelsea’.
Welcome to super-rich London, the city with the highest number of multi-millionaires in the world, according to the respected Wealth Insight analysis – more than 4,000 individuals with more than £20 million per head, placing London ahead of Tokyo, Singapore and New York.
The driver revs the engine for several minutes, and the car – with Arab script on its registration plate – roars off into the night. By the time the sleepless residents reach their windows to peer out, the car has long gone.
For the next month the streets of the capital will be dominated by Ferraris and Maybachs in often garish colours, driven by the over-indulged sons of the Emirates aristocracy.
Alina Blinova runs Rustyle, which she describes as an events management, PR and lifestyle company. ‘Last summer a Russian friend came over and told me he wanted the most expensive house on the market,’ she says.
‘He didn’t care where, or how big it was. He bought a house costing £100 million with its own helicopter pads. He only uses it for two or three weeks a year.’
Her friend Natalie Kaut, a millionaire fashion designer originally from Ukraine, adds: ‘London is easy to live in and I feel safe here. There are cases where the men buy expensive mansions so that they can send their women and children to London. The children will get a good education, and the women can endlessly shop, although many of them are lonely. The men are happy to pay for everything because it leaves them free to enjoy their mistresses in Russia.
‘I can recognise Russian women in the street: they’re head to toe in labels, particularly Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, Roberto Cavali – they mix it with absolutely no taste – which can cost anything more then £10,000 an outfit.
‘Some Russians have grown up with money. There are others with the mentalities of farmers. Their wealth is the result of a criminal act. They then throw their money around. I don’t know how they get passports as many of them are wanted men. They cannot go back to Russia.’
President Putin may well be right to say that no one pays attention to Great Britain.
Certainly that is the view taken by the millionaires and billionaires flocking to this country. They value the privacy we offer and – in a worrying number of cases – our readiness to turn a blind eye.
Kalbama apie britų teisėtvarkos readiness to turn a blind eye.
Privažiuoja visokių, visai ne su Lamborghini.
According to Land Registry documents, almost all of the apartments – 59 of 80 – are owned by corporations registered in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Liechtenstein, avoiding capital gains tax and stamp duty.
Residents include Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine, who bought two of the apartments for £136.4 million; Vladimir Kim, the former chairman of Kazakh copper company Kazakhmys; Sheik Mohammed Saud Sultan al-Qasimi of the Gulf emirate of Sharjah, and Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija.
Rival Knight Frank has found that in South Kensington more than three-quarters of buyers from 2010 to 2013 were foreign.
In Kensington it was two out of three, notably Elena Franchuk, wife of Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk and friend of Elton John, who bought an imposing mansion for £80 million.
Few have been as active as Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, who, rare among the super-rich, buys under his own name.
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