A High Court judge has said fugitive Russian banker Georgy Bedzhamov should be allowed to sell his £35m Belgravia mansion, to pay his lawyers £10m in legal fees.
The High Court gave Bedzhamov the OK to sell his mansion on London’s ultra-expensive Belgrave Square, to pay £5m to Mishcon de Reya and a further £5m to Greenberg Traurig.
The green light comes after Russia’s Vneshprombank (VPB) obtained a worldwide freezing order (WFO) against the oligarch in 2018, over claims Bedzhamov stole billions from the bankrupt Russian firm.
The order froze more than £1.3bn worth of the oligarch’s assets, whilst only allowing him access to “ordinary living expenses” of around £230,000 a month.
Bedzhamov first bought the vacant Grade 1 listed mansion from the Grosvenor Estate on a short lease basis, lasting through to September 2034.
The banker had initially planned to extend his lease for an extra 129 years, after completing renovation works.
However, the Grosvenor Estate, run by the Duke of Westminster, the UK’s 13 richest man, later refused to extend Bedzhamov’s lease, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After a deal to sell the property to Saudi Arabian buyer collapse in May 2021, Bedzhamov is now seeking to sell his derelict mansion to a third-party property developer for £35m,
It is expected the developer will sell the Belgravia property for £75m once renovation work is completed, and pay Bedzhamov an additional £12m.
The proceeds will be used to pay a £5m debt to London law firm Mishcon de Reya, after the firm helped him increase the cap on his “ordinary living expenses” from £99,000 to £230,800 per month.
Another £5m will be paid to US firm Greenberg Traurig, after seven senior lawyers, including six partners, absconded from Mishcon to the white-collar crime specialist last year.
Prior to Bedzhamov’s acquisition, 17 Belgrave Square had acted the home of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, before the organisation moved to new offices in Aldgate in 2013.
The Belgravia estate, dubbed Billionaire’s Square, is also currently home to Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov, who owns a 10-bedroom house worth £60m.
The ruling comes after Greenberg vowed to cut its ties to the Kremlin and other sanctioned Russian individuals, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Although Mishcon pulled down its Russia VIP Service, the firm has said it will not discriminate against Russian clients.
Mishcon and Greenberg Traurig have been approached for comment.