Russian oligarch rids himself of Czech assets

Russian oligarch Mikhail Arustamov is no longer the owner of the Prague Communication and Social Centre, which rents the cultural and commercial building Slovanský dům from the City of Prague, Czech Radio reported on Monday. The new owner, Jean-Gabriel Arqueros, a French businessman who previously worked for banks in Switzerland and focused on Russian clientele, has also replaced Arustamov as the owner of companies that manage other properties in Prague, such as the Albatros office building on Národní třída or the First Republic Palace in Spálená Street. Like Arustamov, he is registered as living in Geneva, Switzerland.

Arustamov started getting rid of lucrative real estate that he owned in Czechia last autumn. In the following months, his daughter Polina was registered as the owner instead of him. Now she has been replaced by the former banker, but according to analyst Marek Chromý from the anti-corruption organization Transparency International, Arqueros could just be the owner on paper.

Mikhail Arustamov is a Russian oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is the former vice president of the Russian state oil company Transneft, where he began his career alongside Nikolai Tokarev, one of the most influential Russian oligarchs, a close associate of Putin and a former KGB agent. However, unlike Tokarev, Arustamov is not yet on any sanctions lists.

Author: Anna Fodor