After the French police, after examining the scheme of owning a Villa in Antibes in November 2017 detained a Russian Senator and businessman Suleiman Kerimov on the case of tax evasion, we wonder what other important Russians enjoy French hospitality. And will the thrust to the mild climate risks? A joint investigation of “Novaya Gazeta”, Le Monde and the Centre for the study of corruption and organized crime (OCCRP) found in the most picturesque corners of the French Riviera lands and villas Boris Rotenberg, who, like his brother, called old friend of the Russian President. And complex scheme of ownership of the estate with equestrian complex, which assures close to Rothenberg people, he just rents.
After the Ukrainian events and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the EU banned dozens of Russian businessmen and officials to enter its territory and froze their assets. Next month, European diplomats should reconsider this list. It is possible that they can pay attention to new names.
If big brother Boris Rotenberg — Arkady in 2014, came under European sanctions, after which Italy has frozen his assets and put a lien on his property, then Boris Rotenberg, such problems were not. He may not hit the list from Finnish citizenship or for another reason, but it allowed him to use the property for millions of euros in the commune of Eze, which is part of the County of nice, and in the commune of Mouans-Sartoux, renowned for its perfumes of the district of Grasse.
House by the sea
Communication Rothenberg with France varied. For example, in the city of Le Luc training race car drivers founded the team SMP Racing, which, as stated on its website that popularizes Motorsport in Russia. Children’s racing, which also develops SMP Racing, supported by “Gazprom” in the framework of its charitable programs. Together they organize in Russia children’s tournament “SMP Racing/Gazprom — to children”.
In a half-hour drive by car from Le Luc, in the commune of Eze, Boris Rotenberg 2.5 hectares of land and other property, which in 2008 was estimated by the French Bank Societe Generale 2.5 million euros.
Located between nice and Monaco, Eze is a village known since ancient times, the settlement on a steep hill leading into the sea. These began to appear here before the domination of the Roman Empire. Another ez memorable for its well-preserved medieval architecture. And the fact that there lived the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Eze located on a cliff, so the climb is quite tiring. The elevation of the famous Nietzsche trail, on which strolled a philosopher — a few hundred meters.
But Boris Rotenberg’s not quite the refuge of a philosopher-recluse: the entrepreneur two villas with a total area of 1300 square meters and a dormitory for servants. When Rothenberg received a construction permit in November 2009, he planned to fix both the Villa and add a pool, a tennis court and a private funicular. As we can see, in December 2017, the pool was already built.
In February 2015, Rotenberg has filed documents for a new construction permit. He wished to build a third Villa of 1000 square meters. It is, according to local sources, there may be still under construction.
Expansion plans surprising given that the local saw neither Rotenberg nor his wife Karina for nearly a decade. Their absence may be related to protracted litigation caused by the fact that Rothenberg refused to pay the contractors for the construction, claiming various defects and unforeseen costs. The court ruled in his favor in 2015, finding that the contractors performed the work he claimed.
Plans for the third Villa can testify that Rothenberg intend to return to Eze. Photographs taken in December 2017, the visible people who are, apparently, working on the preservation of the territory, as well as construction equipment and materials.
The last people who lived there — a French citizen of Ukrainian origin Sergey Pavlenko. Local considered him for the person representing the interests of Boris Rotenberg. He apparently was watching what was happening on the site.
According to the registers, Pavlenko was Director of the French branch of SMP Racing in Monaco (which is now not valid). In the address book of France, his place of residence listed house in Eze, and the addresses in nice and Grasse — the city of the French Riviera North of Cannes.
Fortress in Mouans-Sartoux
In the French Mouans-Sartoux in Rotenberg and his wife a cottage in 17 acres. Google street view
Directly across the street from the house Pavlenko — in Mouans-Sartoux, is a secluded estate, which is used by Boris and Karina Rotenberg, about the size of 17 hectares and will have the letters “B K R” placed on the gate.
A family monogram on the gate of the villas Rotenberg
The gate is a discreet side road. And the estate itself is surrounded by walls and protected by surveillance cameras. On the perimeter at the same distance with floodlights. All of this for its size and closeness stands out in the midst of humble surroundings.
In 2016 in an interview with Russian magazine Tatler Karina Rotenberg mentioned it to the estate, stating that they spend time here and at his home in Russia. She also referred to the equestrian centre adjacent to the main house. Owning 17 acres she called “the cottage”.
“They rent the property,” insists a person close to Rothenberg. He does not answer questions.
In the Tatler, after a conversation with Karina Rotenberg this property is called the “estate of Rothenberg”, noted that their family monogram is not only on the gate, but the stone wall of the dining terraces and so on. “Cottage,” wrote the Tatler, was started for the horses, because Karina Rotenberg is engaged in equestrian sport.
Meanwhile, the question of rent, as property in France, now far from idle, given the Kerimov case, which began with the investigation of complex offshore schemes of owning a Villa. If it is proved that the person is the real owner of the property, but the scheme is constructed so that it is as if her rents from their own companies — this can lead to trouble and charges of evasion of tax. In France there are also a lot of luxury tax.
“Witch hunt” at the Cape of Antibes: what detained Senator Kerimov. Details a high-profile case that has turned into an interstate scandal
According to local municipal records, the owner of “giving” Rotenberg in Mouans-Sartoux is hidden behind an opaque offshore holding company. The property belongs to a company called Tannor 2, which is registered in Monaco — jurisdictions not disclosing information on the owners. Monaco is just 50 km from “giving” Rotenberg, and there is no majority of taxes that exist in France. The Principality is often used for tax optimization.
About Tannor 2 it is known that she was at firms With Getad, which controls the Edmond Patrick Lacour — honorary Consul of Monaco in Monaco. It Lecour in 2014 filed in Mouans-Sartoux statement with the request to allow new construction in the estate of Rothenberg. Lacour declined to comment, only confirmed that Getad provides a registration address for those wishing to establish a company in Monaco.
Another connection of Rothenberg estate Mouans-Sartoux can be traced through the passion of his wife. The Rotenberg own company SEA des Canebiers, which, according to the French registry, engaged in manufacturing and horse breeding. This company is registered at the address of the estate.
One percent of its shares — the Luxembourg lawyer Michael Dandoy, whose business is registration of companies and the creation of complex corporate schemes. And 99% of the company Equus, which is owned by Boris and Karine Rotenberg. Michael Dandoy declined to comment on the scheme of ownership.
Karina Rothenberg was Director of the SEA des Canebiers until January 2014. In the same year it was replaced by Sergei Pavlenko, which has already been mentioned.
What, according to experts, may be theoretically interesting pattern of ownership of the estates through a company in Monaco?
In addition to confidentiality, company registration in Monaco for owning a property in France can be part of saving strategies or tax planning. The foreign structure can prevent the French tax authorities to track the relationship between the property and its present owner, allowing you to avoid property taxes, and special tax “on luxury” that applies to rich foreigners owning French assets.
In addition, the scheme may generate false expenses which usually reduce the tax burden. According to this scheme, a person leases property from the Monegasque company. And his French company declares rent as an expense. And that gives him the right to demand deduction of taxes that he must pay in France. French stated the costs will be, thus, the profits of the company in Monaco, which would bring them under French jurisdiction and, therefore, protection from French taxation.
“The use of a company in Monaco for the tenure in France was common. And that interested non-residents. If we were talking about minimization of taxes, perhaps the French government would raise the issue of the beneficiaries of the property. They’re pretty serious track tax evaders. After the Russian Senator Suleiman Kerimov rent expensive real estate in France has become more risky. But if the owner pays all the required taxes, the company in Monaco can be used just for anonymity”, — shares the opinion of the partner Paragon Advice Group Alexander Zakharov.
Answering the question whether the Rotenberg any risks associated with owning real estate in France, close to him a person says that there is no much concern the situation with Kerimov in Rotenberg causes. “They’re in this mode, live 2014. All that I could, they are already blocked. From the point of view of law — nothing can be done,” says a friend. He believes that other steps by the European authorities now expect difficult.