Amsterdam: squatters of Russian billionaire’s estate face intimidation in lead-up to higher appeal

Activists who took over the multi-million property (Vossiusstraat 16) owned by Russian sanctioned billionaire Arkady Volozh last October, are facing another court case this coming Wednesday.

Volozh, the founder of Russian search engine Yandex, lost an earlier court case against the squatters in November. At that time the judge ruled the squatters would not have to vacate the property because it is frozen as a result of the sanctions and would thus remain unused, since Volozh is barred from entering Europe after being placed on the EU sanctions list for promoting the war with Ukraine through his search engine. The legal situation remains unchanged since November, as Volozh is still on the EU sanctions list. He nonetheless will try his luck again in a higher appeal set to take place this Wednesday.

The squatters attest that the opposing party has submitted last-minute evidence in an attempt to discredit the new residents. The evidence includes videos and pictures taken from inside the squatted building and screenshots from an internal group chat. According to the squatters these videos were taken without their knowledge and consent over a period of two months by a man who claimed to be a refugee from Ukraine in need of a place to stay.

The squatters state: “This person came to us in need, asking for a place to stay. He introduced himself as a Ukrainian refugee who had just escaped from war. We opened our space to him and welcomed him with open arms. It has now come to our attention that he was spying on us and has been passing on information to the lawyers of Volozh in an attempt to discredit and ultimately evict us. We have no idea whether this person was hired from the start or if he was approached later and coerced, bribed or intimidated into giving up information. It goes without saying that we are absolutely disgusted by the exploitation of those who are affected by the war, regardless of how this situation came to be. We are not surprised by Volozh’s lawyers dirty tricks, but it is still shocking that the law firm Wolfs Advocaten would engage in this kind of scheming.”

The squatters express that they do not think the last-minute submissions will change their position and that they are unsure what Wolfs advocaten is trying to achieve with these videos. The legal situation of Volozh remains unchanged as he continues to be on the sanctions list and no court procedure has been filed at the European Court of Law to remove him from it.

The residents of Vossisusstraat 16 and their supporters are organising a demonstration this Sunday at 15:00 on the Leidseplein. They encourage supporters to show up to the demonstration and write letters in support to be used as evidence in the court, which can be sent to: vossiustraat16 [at] riseup [dot] net

Vossiusstraat 16
1071AB Amsterdam
vossiusstraat16 [at] riseup [dot] net

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