who pays for the maintenance of frozen Russian yachts in France?

Messages circulating on social networks claim, wrongly, that it is the French taxpayer who pays.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine more than a year ago, seven Russian ships have been frozen in France. According to messages that have been circulating in recent days on social networks, it would be the French taxpayer who would put his hand in his pocket to maintain these luxury boats. This would cost the state, according to them, several million euros per year. But that statement is false.

In France, the State does not pay for frozen Russian property

In France, it costs nothing to taxpayers. Whether for yachts or for other frozen properties, such as villas on the Côte d’Azur or chalets in the mountains, it is the Russian owners who continue to pay for maintenance. “France and the French do not pay”, assures franceinfo of the General Directorate of Customs. And the sums can be significant since according to professionals in the sector, the maintenance of a yacht costs about 10% of its value each year, knowing that these boats can be worth several million euros.

Even if the money of the Russian oligarchs is frozen in France, the freezing procedure authorizes the release of part of the funds to pay security and gardening companies or even to finance its location in a marina. According to customs, since these services are provided “by structures established in France or which employ employees in France”, this does not constitute financing of the Russian war effort. Moreover, customs believe that it is not in the interest of owners not to pay at the risk of seeing their assets depreciate.

It doesn’t always happen that way

Elsewhere in Europe or in the world, some countries decide to advance the costs for maintenance. This is the case of the Dominican Republic or, closer to us, Italy, where the largest sailboat in the world (almost 150 meters long) has been very expensive since it was seized near Venice: more of 7 million euros for the Italian taxpayer. franceinfo already told you about it here a few weeks ago.

The other difficulty for these countries which have frozen these assets is knowing who to send the invoice to: the owners are not always easily identifiable, well hidden behind several front companies. To circumvent this problem, Gibraltar decided to sell one of these yachts for 37 million euros and the money was used to compensate creditors.

source site-25