Russian billionaire “wants to reclaim squatted Amsterdam villa”

The house on Vossiusstraat is inhabited by squatters. Photo: ANP/Raymon van Flymen

Russian billionaire Arkady Volozh has been removed from the European Union’s sanctions list, fuelling speculation that he plans to move back into his mansion beside Amsterdam’s Vondelpark.

NOS quoted sources saying the 60-year-old had made reclaiming the villa, which is currently occupied by squatters, one of his main priorities after the EU formally lifted the measures imposed in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Volozh was barred from travelling to Amsterdam or earning from his EU-based investments under the sanctions. A group of squatters moved into the house and were allowed to stay by appeal court judges last May, on the grounds that the owner was unable to live there himself.

Lawyers for Volozh argued in court that he still intended to use the house on Vossiusstraat as a residence for himself and his family.

“Visiting the house is one of the top items on his list of things to do as soon as the sanctions have been lifted,” NOS quoted its source as saying.

Volozh made his money as owner of the Russian online services firm Yandex, but resigned as CEO a few months after the invasion and has since been declared persona non grata in Moscow. He has given up his right to vote in Russia and currently lives in Tel Aviv.

Last year he denounced the war in Ukraine in a written statement as “barbaric”. “The fate of the Ukrainians – many of whom are my personal friends and relatives – whose houses are being bombarded every day fills me with revulsion,” he wrote.

He retains an 8.5% stake in Yandex, now based in the Netherlands after its Russian assets were sold to a consortium of investors, but has no voting rights, Reuters reported.

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