This Paris Life

Expert Insight, Breaking News, and Insider Stories on Real Estate in Paris

Paris properties belonging to dictators seized and sold by government

Embezzling dictators have a habit of amassing global property portfolios. Paris is a common target for this sort of activity, and authorities have recently shown their willingness to seize assets bought with pilfered State money.

The city regularly comes in the top five cities globally for luxury property attractiveness, so it is no wonder those with billions to ‘clean’ want to invest in the city. They often wish to acquire properties in the most prestigious parts of the city, especially Haussmannien properties in the 16th and central arrondissements. It doesn’t always go to plan.

For example, in March a 688 m2 triplex (building pictured above) overlooking the Bois de Boulogne was seized by the French government. It belonged to the daughter of Islam Karimov, ex-dictator of Uzbekistan who died in September. A chateau in Groussay was also confiscated. Both properties were sent to public auction, with daughter Gulnara Karimova still at large and wanted for money laundering.

Not only is seizing them a good way to set an example of respect for the law and fiscal adherence, it also brings in significant revenues for the state. An unnamed buyer snapped up the property at the end of March for 13.1 million euros, a price/m2 of €19,000. They will enjoy wonderful views of the woods and La Defense, 200 m2 of balcony and terrace space, and five king-size bedrooms. Perhaps not so welcome will be the property’s €60,000 annual tax and charges liabilities.

It’s not just the deceased and departed that authorities are clamping down on either. Earlier this month, Rifaat Al-Assad, brother of the Syrian dictator, had much of his French portfolio seized by authorities. This includes two hotels in the 16th arrondissement – one measuring 6,000 m2 on the Avenue Foch – and 9.5 million euros of investment in property funds.

Much still remains. The Assad’s portfolio in France totals almost 100 million euros, with residential properties in Paris, Val-d’Oise and Lyon. However, even this is small-fry compared to the $740 million in real estate they owned in Spain seized by authorities around the same time.

image © Google Earth

sources: Le Figaro, Lorient Le Jour,, CNN

Contact Paris Property Group to learn more about buying or selling property in Paris.

Find us on
Get the PPG Monthly newsletter

Contact us
By phone
In France +33 (0)9 75 18 18 99
From the US (917) 779-9950
By email
Stay current on the Paris real estate market:
Sign up for our newsletter
Thank you and welcome aboard!
* Required fileds