An oligarch who complained about money problems froze a French villa

French authorities have frozen the Saint-Tropez villa of Mikhail Fridman, one of Russia’s first oligarchs, due to sanctions, according to reports.

The luxurious Copab villa in the French Riviera town of Saint-Tropez was added to the list of “frozen” Russian assets in France on May 3. according to Ukrainian service of Radio Free Liberty.

The villa on the French Riviera is owned by the family of Fridman, one of Russia’s richest men and chairman of conglomerate Alfa Group, one of Russia’s largest private lenders. The 58-year-old was recently the target of sanctions from the European Union, which described him as “a leading Russian financier and facilitator of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s inner circle.”

Vladimir Putin (2nd R) shakes hands with Mikhail Fridman (inset). Russian oligarch Fridman’s villa in Saint-Tropez has been frozen due to sanctions
YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty

Fridman, who grew up in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, called Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a “tragedy”, which “should be stopped as soon as possible”.

In a letter to staff shortly after the invasion began in February, he said he wanted “the bloodshed to stop”.

“My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favorite city. But I have also spent a large part of my life as a Russian citizen, creating and developing businesses. I have a deep connection to the Ukrainian and Russian people and I see the current conflict as a tragedy for both of them,” Fridman wrote.

After being hit with penalties, Fridman said in a Bloomberg interview that he struggled to pay for things at home, such as a cleaner.

“Maybe I should clean the house myself,” he said. “It’s good. I lived in a small dorm with four men when I was a student, but after 35 years, it’s unexpected.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.