Russian Oligarchs Fleeing Sanctions Are House Hunting In Dubai

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Displaced by sanctions and unwelcome in the West, Russian billionaires are on the hunt for luxury properties in Dubai, lured by the Emirate’s glitzy beaches, flexible visa program and pledged neutrality on Ukraine, according to several Dubai-based real estate brokers who have shown properties to representatives of Russian billionaires.

We are getting increasing requests from Russian oligarchs

says Şerif Nadi Varlı, the lead real estate broker at Vartur Real Estate, which has offices in Dubai and Turkey, another top destination for wealthy Russians looking to escape sanctions.

Those kinds of people are looking for bigger investments, they’re scared to keep their assets in European countries.

We have seen some interest from oligarchs, not just in buying property in Dubai, but fully residing in Dubai

says another broker, who asked to remain anonymous for concerns of breaking confidentiality agreements. A third Dubai-based real estate executive (who also asked to remain anonymous) says their firm has worked with “multiple” Russian billionaires scouting for homes.

The oligarchs will be in familiar company. At least three Russian billionaires and one recent dropoff already own properties in the emirate city-state, according to data provided by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Advanced Defense Studies. Fertilizer tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev owns a $29.5 million property on Palm Jumeirah, a luxury archipelago of artificial islands shaped like a palm tree. His ultra-wealthy neighbors in the islands include Albert Avdolyan and his wife Elena—who own two properties worth a combined $19 million—and Andrei Molchanov, who owns a $26.5 million home. (Molchanov dropped off Forbes World’s Billionaires list in 2022.) Pavel Durov, the 37-year-old founder of messaging app Telegram, also lives there.

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