Activists occupy Yandex founder’s $3.4m Amsterdam home – reports

A group of activists have occupied the multimillion-dollar Amsterdam home of Russian tech tycoon Arkady Volozh, a Dutch news outlet reported Monday.

Volozh, 58, is the co-founder and former CEO from tech giant Yandex, the Russian equivalent of Google. He resigned in June after the European Union sanctioned him in its response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Dutch daily NRC and the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer reported In early October, Volozh owned a 3.4 million euro ($3.37 million) mansion in Amsterdam South which he bought through an offshore company in 2018-19.

The group of protesters told NRC they had been squatting in the vacant residence believed to belong to Volozh since Thursday evening.

Banners reading “Yandex + FSB = [Heart]in Cyrillic were pictured hanging from the five-story property, a reference to the tech giant’s alleged ties to Russia’s Federal Security Service. Banners in English reading “against war and capitalism” were displayed nearby.

Police reportedly visited the property on Monday but made no arrests.

“The rights of billionaires who see our cities as investments are better protected than those of vulnerable people who want a roof over their heads,” said the squatters quoted by the NRC.

Forbes estimates that Volozh’s net worth has dropped from $2.6 billion to less than $600 million at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The activists added that they were occupying Volozh property “to support Ukrainian and Russian anarchists who are fighting against their state”.

Dutch media said earlier in October that Volozh had reported the property to the Dutch authorities at the beginning of September. Officials declined to comment, but experts said Volozh property should be frozen and banned from sale, rental or renovation under EU sanctions.

Volozh is the last high-profile Russian national to have had properties targeted by squatters or vandals since the invasion began. Previous cases include sanctioned former deputy prime minister and current state banker Igor Shuvalov, aluminum billionaire Oleg Deripaska and pro-Kremlin TV host Vladimir Solovyov.

Volozh also holds a Maltese passport, which he acquired in 2016 through the EU members’ cash-for-passports scheme, in addition to holding an Israeli passport.

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