Shams Rahman of our Property Litigation team recently spoke to The Wall Street Journal on the restrictions placed on sanctioned Russian oligarchs forbidding routine transactions on the properties and businesses they own, and whether being unable to pay ground rent notably to The Crown Estate, might eventually trigger repossessions.

Land beneath the oligarch’s 1848-built mansion is owned by the Crown Estate, which oversees a roughly $18 billion portfolio of land and other assets on behalf of the British Crown.

Roman Abramovich isn’t allowed to pay rent to Queen Elizabeth.

The U.K. has sanctioned nearly two dozen Russian oligarchs as well as a set of Russian banks and other companies tied to the Kremlin, and added Mr. Abramovich, the Russian billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, on Thursday.

These sanctions are designed to block oligarchs from making money in the West—to exact financial pain on those close to President Vladimir Putin. But they have also spawned a raft of rules that upend more routine transactions related to properties and businesses they own. These include ground rent payments to the monarchy…

…What happens if he isn’t able to pay or get a license for his rent? The Crown Estate spokeswoman declined to comment.

Shams Rahman, a litigator at law firm Edwin Coe, has worked on a case involving a neighbouring property with a similar lease to Mr. Abramovich’s. He said that in theory, if the Crown Estate isn’t paid, it could begin the process of taking possession of the property.

But it would be a long road that could be contested, he said, adding that the rights given to property owners in the U.K. mean Mr. Abramovich and any other oligarchs are unlikely to see their real estate seized soon….

Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal website (subscription may be required).

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