Vladimir Putin / efe

Spain targets Russian oligarchs who have interests in the country

The Spanish authorities have drawn up a list of 958 individuals and companies and have mobilised hundreds of specialist staff to investigate them

MELCHOR SÁIZ-PARDO Madrid

“It is going to take months, if not years, to locate these fortunes,” warn sources at Spain's Ministry of Finance. But, for the past two weeks, hundreds of police and Guardia Civil officers, CNI members, notaries, bank and insurance employees, civil servants at the ministries of Industry, Transport, Economy, Finance and Justice and the Bank of Spain, among others, have been working to unravel the complex trail of assets and interests of Russian oligarchs who are close to Vladimir Putin.

According to the State security forces, the latest list of Russian oligarchs drawn up by Spanish investigators, which was updated on Tuesday 15 March, includes 893 individuals and 65 companies from Russia and Belarus, who are subject to the European Commission’s restrictions on travel and freezing of assets. None of these 893 oligarchs, entrepreneurs, high-ranking civil servants or politicians close to the Kremlin are currently in Spain, and none are among the 79,485 Russians registered as living here.

Nevertheless, say the same sources, that does not mean that these multi-millionaires and authorities close to the Kremlin have not been in Spain on numerous occasions in recent years, or do not have interests in the country in the form of assets (especially yachts), properties or companies.